BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — On Jan. 14, Carlos Trejo received a phone call from an associate in jail.
The man in custody said he was relaying a message from “the homies” that things were “hella dry,” and for Trejo to “put in work,” according to court documents.
While the contents of that message may not mean much to the average resident, Bakersfield police say it constituted an order from higher ranking gang members telling Trejo to commit crimes to benefit the Northside Bakers, a Norteno-based gang of which he is a member.
The following day, Trejo and Jorge Flores embarked on a crime spree, committing shootings that left two men dead and two others wounded within a seven-hour period, police say.
Both Trejo, 22, and Flores, 23, have pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and other charges filed in connection with the shootings. Held without bail, they have a hearing scheduled Friday.
Surveillance video captured footage of a white Lexus sedan police say the two used as they drove around looking for victims. An examination of bullet casings left at the crime scenes showed they were fired from the same weapon.
Flores, following his arrest, admitted to being with Trejo in the Lexus on the days when the apparently random shootings happened, according to the documents. Detectives recovered data on his phone linking him and Trejo to the crimes.
A man was riding a bike the night of of Jan. 15 when a white sedan approached him at the intersection of Cannon Avenue and Cottonwood Road.
The car stopped next to the bicyclist and the front seat passenger asked, “Where you from?” the bicyclist told police. The questioned referred to gang affiliation.
The bicyclist told the passenger he wasn’t in a gang.
The passenger then pulled a gun and fired, hitting him multiple times, the bicyclist said. He described the car and passenger but said he didn’t see the driver.
“(The bicyclist) did not know the suspect and advised he had never seen him before,” Bakersfield police Detective Randy Petris wrote in the court filings.
Twenty minutes later, a shooting occurred on Meeks Avenue that killed one man and wounded another. Vladimir Sanchez, 27, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Both men were sitting in a parked BMW when the shots were fired.
The wounded man, interviewed at Kern Medical, told police he got out of the BMW after he was hit but was unable to see the shooter.
More than six hours passed before the third and final shooting.
Police arrived at an apartment complex around 5:30 a.m. Jan. 16 to find a man shot dead in a parking lot on Taylor Street near Belle Terrace. The slain man was identified as Scottie Tripp, 28.
Tripp’s brother told police the two had left an apartment when Tripp turned around and went back inside while he got in a car. Tripp came back out and was walking through the parking lot when two men approached him.
The men shot Tripp then ran, the brother said. He told police he followed the men in his car until they fired at him. He was uninjured.
Investigators reviewed surveillance footage and saw a white sedan in the area that matched the description of the suspect vehicle in the Meeks Avenue shooting, according to court documents.
The video also captured the shooting. It showed one man fired while the other watched, the filings say. Before shooting, the man asked, “Where you from?”
In the following months, investigators compiled surveillance footage and witness statements and analyzed evidence.
The 9mm casings seized from the scenes were fired from the same weapon, the filings say. The victims in at least two of the shootings were asked about their gang affiliation.
Of special significance was the white sedan seen in surveillance video or described by witnesses as being at each of the shootings.
Investigators examined records for all traffic stops Bakersfield police made Jan. 15 and found a 2006 white Lexus sedan had been stopped about three minutes after the Meeks Avenue shooting for reckless driving, according to the filings.
The driver was identified as Flores and the front seat passenger as Trejo, the documents say. The men had not been arrested because at that time there was no information linking them to anything other than driving recklessly.
Investigators reviewed Trejo’s arrest record and saw he had been in jail in December on gun and gang charges. They also saw he called Bakersfield police last year to report an auto theft.
The phone number Trejo used to make that call was cross-checked with calls made from jail. Detectives found numerous calls were made to Trejo’s number from one of the men with whom he was arrested in December, the documents say.
Police listened to the recorded calls and found the conversations indicating the shootings were done on behalf of the Northside Bakers. There was also a call made Jan. 16 where Trejo boasted police pulled him over but didn’t arrest him, according to the documents. He told the acquaintance he “pulled an all-nighter.”
Flores was placed under surveillance and taken into custody April 21 while following a tow truck that was towing the suspect vehicle, the documents say. Trejo was arrested afterward.
Search warrants served on their homes and vehicles found clothing believed worn during the shootings and the same brand of ammunition that was fired, according to the documents.
While going through videos Flores saved to his phone, police found a recording made the morning of Jan. 16 that showed Trejo wearing a black hoodie with a large “Niner Gang” logo on the chest and “E-40 49ERS” on the left upper arm.
The hoodie matches what one of the suspects wore in the surveillance video, the documents say.
Police found a text message on Flores’ phone sent Jan. 17. It said, “Tarus (sic) 9mm 16/17 bullet holder. Shoots like butter,” according to the filings.
A 9mm was used in the shootings.
“Based on the content in the message, it was apparent that Jorge Flores was bragging about the firearm or trying to get rid of it,” Petris, the detective, wrote in the filings.