California gunman who killed 5 divorced wife last year, police say

Sept. 15 (UPI) — California authorities say they have a better idea of what led a man to kill his ex-wife and four others this week in a shooting attack north of Los Angeles.

Investigators identified the shooter as Javier Casarez and said he filed for divorce from his wife last year, claiming infidelity. The pair had been trying to settle child custody and other matters.

Authorities said Wednesday’s attack had started as a domestic disturbance.

“Sometimes these domestic violence cases morph into something really bad, and we want to find out how the other players fit into that domestic violence issue,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood. “If you look at the time frame of when this occurred, from scene to scene to scene, it appears very calculated.”

Authorities said Casarez, 54, took ex-wife Petra Maribel Bolanos De Casarez to a trucking company outside Bakersfield on Wednesday to confront Manuel Contreras. Casarez then shot both, officials said, before he chased another man, Antonio Valadez, from the premises and shot him dead in front of a nearby sporting goods store.

Officials said Casarez then wandered into a neighborhood and shot Eliseo Garcia and his daughter, Laura. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the pair knew the shooter, and investigators believe Laura may have been shot accidentally.

Casarez then carjacked a vehicle and was on his way to a friend’s business when a deputy pulled him over. At that point, Casarez fatally shot himself in the chest with a .50 caliber handgun.

Bakersfield is about 100 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Court documents show Casarez filed for divorce in December and had asked for his wife’s text messages, a request denied by the judge. The divorce was finalized in April and the couple were negotiating the custody of their three children.

Body camera footage from the deputy shows him approach Casarez in a parking lot and order him to drop his gun multiple times. All the shootings happened in a 30-minute span.

Investigators have not said whether or how all the victims are connected to Casarez.


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