Crime & Justice

Ridgecrest shooting spree: Man, homicide suspect, vowed to 'wreak havoc'

Police caution tape
Police caution tape
Photograh by Perfect Pose via Flickr Creative Commons

2:04 p.m.: Man, homicide suspect, vowed to "wreak havoc" 

Authorities said a man who went on a shooting spree and led officers on an hour-long chase in the Ridgecrest area of the Mojave Desert was the subject of a homicide investigation, and reports indicated he left multiple victims in his wake.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told the Los Angeles Times the man called a Ridgecrest police officer's cellphone early Friday and said he wanted to come to the police station and "kill all the officers but they had too many guns." He also said he had a package for police and warned he was "going to wreak havoc."

Ridgecrest police sent out an alert at 5:30 a.m. Friday asking all law enforcement to be on the lookout for a black Dodge Dart, California Highway Patrol Officer Vaughn Cain told the Associated Press.

Ridgecrest Mayor Dan Clark told AP his police chief later called him and told him the shooter was "neutralized" and that there were a number of victims, but he had no further information.

Youngblood told the Times that at one point officers saw a man and a woman in the trunk of the man's vehicle. The man reportedly shot through the back seat into the trunk before being gunned down by police himself. The people in the trunk had multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Times.

A crime scene is set up along U.S. 395 at Kramer Junction, where two police helicopters have landed.

— KPCC staff and wires

10:09 a.m.: Man goes on shooting spree in Ridgecrest

Authorities in Kern County say a man went on a shooting spree and led officers on an hour-long chase around the California desert town of Ridgecrest.

Senior Deputy Michael Whorf told the Associated Press that deputies responded at 7:10 a.m. Friday to chase underway by Ridgecrest police.

Whorf said the chase ended an hour later on U.S. 395 at Kramer Junction with an exchange of gunfire. There's no word on whether the shooter was injured or arrested.

California Highway Patrol Officer Darlena Dotson told AP the highway was closed from Kramer Junction for 10 miles north because of the investigation.

ABC23 in Bakersfield reports the suspect may have had hostages and that he shot at random people on the streets.

At about 5:30 a.m., KCSO public information officer Ray Pruitt said that officers tried stopping the driver of a car in the area of Kramer Junction who was wanted on a warrant charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Pruitt said the man took off and started shooting at officers.

Pruitt said the man even started shooting at random people on the streets.

Schools in Ridgecrest were placed on lockdown as a precaution but were later reopened, according to AP.

The city of about 27,000 people is 150 miles north of Los Angeles.