‘We need officers on the beat’; Arvin mayor speaks on deadly child shooting

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — After a weekend shooting killed a 10-year-old girl and left her 12-year-old brother in critical condition, Arvin Mayor Olivia Trujillo said calling the situation “sad” would be an understatement.

“The tragic loss of this little girl has brought a lot of anger,” said Trujillo.

Liliana Jimenez, 10, died Saturday night on North Hill Street, just outside her father’s home after the family was attacked when returning from a party. According to Arvin police, the father was dropping the kids off at the house when someone pulled up next to them and fired into the vehicle.

Liliana died before officers arrived. Her father is still at Kern Medical and her brother, 12-year-old Christian, is in critical condition at a hospital in Fresno. According to Trujillo, the kids’ father could be paralyzed from the wound. Their mother has been with Christian at the hospital since the shooting.

“I have a 10 year old granddaughter, an 11 year old grandson, and I can’t think of how I would react if something like this happened to them,” said Trujillo. “I put myself in this single mom’s shoes, knowing that she’ll never see her daughter again, she’s at the bedside of her son right now as he struggles to stay alive, and the father of these children will be crippled forever, and that is unacceptable.”

She said the shooting has brought outrage in the city, but also pulled people together to support the kids’ mother. As of Tuesday a night, a GoFundMe started by a family friend has raised nearly $20,000 to help the mother with any expenses from the shooting. Trujillo said the city wants to hold a candle light vigil for Liliana and Christian, once Christian recovers.

An official motive hasn’t been determined, and the suspects, described as two male juveniles, are still on the run. Trujillo said even with Arvin’s history regarding gang violence, the city hadn’t seen a murder as brazen as the shooting.

“I understand now they don’t jump them in by beating them, they give them a loaded gun and see how much courage they have to take someone out. They’re actually having these little kids do dirty work and that is not okay.”

She said she plans to work with the new police chief, Edwin Brock, to increase the number of officers on patrol, and reduce the violence.

“We need officers on the beat,” said Trujillo, “because this is a city that’s been growing leaps and bounds and we need to grow our police force and public safety as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Arvin police at 661-854-5583 or the Kern Secret Witness hotline at 661-322-4040.