KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County ended February with slightly more homicides than last year.
In February 2020, Kern saw 4 homicides from incidents that month, along with the death of Kern Valley State Prison inmate Noah Rutherford, who died from wounds he suffered in an assault the year before. That month also saw the Greyhound bus shooting that killed a traveler from Colombia.
This year, there were at least 6 homicides, with two deadly shootings in Arvin and Bakersfield this past weekend. Outlying communities in Kern saw their first homicides of the year, compared to how nearly all homicides in January happened within Bakersfield Police jurisdiction.
On Feb. 6, Delano saw its first homicide of 2021, when Joel Santos Maldonado was shot and killed while visiting North Kern Cemetery. The murder came after Delano officials and the city’s community worked to reduce the violence seen in the first half of 2020.
On Feb. 16, Delano had another homicide when 45-year-old Christina Armendariz was killed in a shooting on Asti Street. Another man was wounded. Armendariz’s death was a deep blow to her family, as they had just recently buried her father. Pastor David Vivas, who knew Armendariz, has organized a vigil for Delano’s victims of violence at the city’s police department on 2230 High Street. It begins at 11 AM on Mar. 13. Anyone with information on either of Delano’s shootings last month can contact Delano PD at (661) 721-3369. Tips can be given anonymously.
On Feb. 20, 31-year-old Reginald Albert Gordon McCoy, Jr. was killed in a shooting on the 300 block of S. Hayes Street in Southeast Bakersfield. No suspect information was immediately available.
Three days later, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office announced it was investigating a man’s death in Rosamond. The body was found inside a trailer on 40th Street West with unspecified trauma. He has not been publicly identified. Anyone with more information can contact KCSO at (661) 861-3110.
Arvin had its second homicide of the year on Feb. 27. According to the police department, two people were shot in the area of Haven Drive and Grove Street. One man was pronounced dead and the other is being treated at a hospital. No suspect information is available.
That same night, Bakersfield saw another homicide when someone killed Shaneva Lashay Riley during a memorial being held at Wayside Park. The police department said over 100 rounds were fired, but she was the only victim killed. BPD says despite the number of people present, investigators were not given much suspect information. Anyone with information on the shooting can contact the Bakersfield Police Department at (661) 327-7111. To remain anonymous, you can also contact Kern Secret Witness at (661) 322-4040.
By the end of February, Kern County had seen at least 17 homicides, compared to 16 in 2020. Another difference from last year is that most have been in Bakersfield, and all the victims have been killed in shootings, pending the outcome of the Rosamond investigation.