Less than 48 hours after six people were shot dead Wednesday near the southeast edge of Bakersfield's industrial ghetto, businesses in the area seemed to have bounced back to their daily routine.

On Friday afternoon, diesel rigs pulled in and out of T&T Trucking on Manwell Boulevard as a worker wearing an orange safety vest stayed busy in the asphalt yard. Commerce also looked brisk at nearby A-1 Battery and gun-seller Bear Mountain Sports, where one of the victims had run for his life, only to be hunted down and killed by Javier Casarez and his .50-caliber revolver.

Two days later there was no obvious indication that blood had been spilled in the parking lot. However, what appeared to be a bullet hole in the metal skin of the shared industrial building seemed to confirm that something terrible had taken place there.

Another sign was visible as well. Near a back door at T&T Trucking, some two dozen tall glass candles, a few carrying the image of the Virgin de Guadalupe, stood vigil in memory of those who died there Wednesday evening.

"It hasn't fully hit me yet. I've been coping — and my husband is with me," said former Bakersfield resident Ana Bautista, 24, who received a call from a relative Wednesday night with news that her uncle, Eliseo Cazares, 57, and her second cousin, Laura Garcia, 31, had also been gunned down at their home not far from the businesses where three others had died.

Now living in Oceanside with her U.S. Marine husband, Bautista said she's shocked and angry that the shooter, identified by authorities as 54-year-old Javier Casarez could do such a thing and then turn the gun on himself.

"He took the easy way out," she said, a measure of venom in her voice.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said he and his investigators believe the shootings are connected to the breakup. But many questions remain unanswered.

Is it possible someone could have seen this coming? Did any family member or friend think to ask to hold onto Casarez's gun until emotions cooled over the apparently emotional breakup of his marriage to 45-year-old Petra Maribel Bolanos De Casarez, who was the second to die Wednesday?

And was Javier Casarez in legal possession of the ultra-powerful .50-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun he used to commit all six killings, including his own suicide? Did he own or possess other firearms? Did he have a concealed carry permit?

A spokesman with the sheriff's department said Friday that questions about when and where the weapon was purchased are being investigated, but answers were not yet available.

The timing of the purchase of the handgun may be relevant. Did Casarez obtain the five-shot revolver before he filed for divorce in December — or after?

Little has been revealed about the couple's 18-year-marriage.

But according to court documents filed in connection to the couple's divorce, their home in the 8400 block of Kam Avenue, near Lamont, was purchased in September 2014. Four years later, their mortgage appears to be underwater. The home's gross fair market value is listed at $208,763, but the debt still left on the property is $263, 534.

Their savings account is shown to contain $4,000, but there's no money in checking, according to divorce documents. And no retirement funds are listed.

Interestingly, Eliseo Casarez, one of the five victims, loaned the couple $2,000, the divorce documents indicate.

The divorce appears to give joint custody to the one-time couple's two minor children.

But a GoFundMe account posted the day after the mass shooting says the couple "left behind six children." As of about 6:30 p.m. Friday, $3,960 had been raised for funeral expenses for both killer and victim.

Bautista, whose uncle and second cousin were gunned down in the shooting spree, said she is troubled that the GoFundMe account included the ex-husband, Javier Casarez, identified by authorities as the gun-wielding killer.

Indeed, the GoFundMe account includes a photo of Javier and Maribel Casarez, together, apparently in happier days.

Bautista thinks it's tone deaf.

"He killed innocent people," Bautista said. "They started a GoFundMe account for him, as if he was a victim?

"The GoFundMe account upset me," she said.

There were several children in the house when he forced his way in. Their lives will never be the same.

"He physically drove over there, got out of his car — and did this," Bautista said.

"I still can't believe it happened."

Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @semayerTBC.

(4) comments



Please support the GoFund me of Antonio Valadez. The head of a humble household, which was already dealing with a cancer scare, has two young adults working hard to pursue their education, and a teen daughter with special needs, who now lost their father because of this domestic dispute of others that led to multiple murders. He was a good man. the family now has costs to contend with, which will add to the task of keeping their home. It's a tragic situation, and although no one deserves such a thing, a family that was already fighting to better themselves has now had their leg taken out. Please help.

John Campbell

What the .................???????

"Less than 48 hours after six people were shot dead Wednesday near the southeast edge of Bakersfield's industrial ghetto .............."?????

Now this is an "industrial ghetto"?
Who rights this stuff? What on earth was the writer trying to imply with such a statement?


oFundMe is blind, and so, in most cases are the people who donate to it. In far too many cases, the people who donate to these "causes" do not know the entire story behind why the account is set up. It is also easy to see how this type of crowdfunding site could be exploited.
To Mrs. Bautista: I do understand your anger at the shooter being portrayed as a victim, but try to look at it in a positive light. Mr. Casarez not be able to profit from it. But his children will.


Yeah, including the killer in the Go Fund Me fundraiser feels pretty tactless. Still there are people probably grieving his death, too. Humans are very complicated creatures. If we were more like the rest of nature, everyone else and the planet would be better off for it.

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