Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood says the gunman who killed five people and himself in a southeast Bakersfield shooting rampage had recently gone through a divorce with his wife.

At a news conference at Sheriff’s headquarters in Oildale, Youngblood said 54-year-old Javier Casarez was still battling Petra De Casarez in court over custody of their children and property issues. Youngblood believes he forced her to go to T&T Trucking on Manwell Blvd. Wednesday. He killed Petra and 50-year-old Manuel Contreras at the shop around 5:18p.m. Casarez then chased 50-year-old Antonio Valadez out of the shop and gunned him down near Bear Mountain Sports.

The gunman next went to a house on Breckrenridge Road where he shot his friend Eliseo Cazares and his daughter Laura Garcia, who tried to stop the attack. Garcia’s young children were home at the time but are safe.

Youngblood believes the killing spree was driven, at least in part, by a domestic violence incident and says every victim was targeted, but it may be awhile before deputies piece it all together as they interview 30 witnesses and investigate four crime scenes.

Body cam footage of the deputy who confronted Casarez in an auto body lot on Edison Hwy was also released. It shows the deputy ordering him to put the gun down four times before the suspect shot himself in the stomach. Casarez also apparently says he didn’t want to live anymore. Youngblood says the deputy went a long way and took a lot of precautions to get Caserez to drop the gun and later rendered medical aid at the scene.

Kelli Pierce