Just two days into 2021, Kern County could not have a break from the high number of homicides seen the year before.
On Friday and Saturday alone, 4 people were killed in shootings, all in Bakersfield.
It started January 1st with a man shot on Rosewood Avenue. The Kern County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, and today KCSO said they have not identified a suspect and do not know what connection the victim had with his killer.
Then on January 2nd, someone shot 34-year-old Ruben Jose Vega outside a home on Oregon Street, just a few days after he was released from prison. While a vehicle was reportedly seen leaving the area after the shooting, no suspects have been announced in the case.
His girlfriend, Ada Herrera, said Vega had been planning to look for a job Monday and turn his life around.
“He was looking forward to, come Monday, go get a job and get back on his feet, and [have] a family life, than the streets,” Herrera said at a small memorial, made up of candles and balloons.
The opportunity was taken from him by an unknown gunman. Herrera wants people to know Vega was an ex-con, but also a loving person who wanted to care for his daughter and four step-children.
“He was the type of guy that would take the shirt off his back and give it to you. He always knew what to say when you were down and put a smile on your face, and he was always there when you needed him,” Herrera said.
She has started a GoFundMe to raise money for funeral services. She’s asking anyone who knows more about the shooting to speak with KCSO’s investigators.
Hours after Vega’s killing, two people were shot to death at the Vagabond Inn on Colony Street. Bakersfield Police announced an arrest Monday morning: 25-year-old Mario Velasquez, who now faces two counts of murder.
The deaths come on the heels of Kern’s deadliest year on record. Anyone with information on the KCSO investigations can contact them at (661) 861-3110, or remain anonymous by calling (661) 322-4040.