BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — From mass shootings to familial violence and self-defense, homicides have impacted Kern County families this year.
The Kern County coroner rules a death of a homicide when it is “at the hands of another.” This includes deaths from justifiable self-defense and murder.
So far Kern’s homicide rate in 2023 has been slightly below the pace of previous years’ homicide rate.
By KGET’s count, 48 people were killed in homicides from Jan. 1 to June 30 this year whereas in 2022 at the same time, Kern County saw 58 people have dead by homicide.
If the tragic killings continue at the same rate 96 people will be killed by the end of 2023.
Each year, some homicides are determined to be results of self-defense, where someone was forced to act to protect themselves or another person.
Christian Flores, 20, of Bakersfield forced his way into a home in northeast Bakersfield on Pla Vada Drive on April 12, attacked the homeowner then was stabbed and killed by the owner, according to officials.
The Bakersfield Police Department says Flores entered through the home’s garage, armed himself with a hatchet and attacked the homeowner.
The homeowner ultimately fatally stabbed Flores.
Self-defense is only one of the types of homicides seen in Kern County.
So far this year, domestic violence claimed the lives of six people in Kern County.
Two of the domestic violence incidents were murder-suicides.
Sonsat Tep Saelee shot Jazmin Reyes, 20, of Bakersfield, in a possible domestic dispute at a residence on Kentucky Street on April 17, according to officials.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office says Saelee then shot himself to death. Saelee died before making a court appearance.
Reyes died April 18 at Kern Medical, according to the coroner’s office.
In another murder-suicide, a Lake Isabella man shot and killed his father in early February.
Sheriff’s officials said Richard Allen Walsh, 81, was found with multiple gunshot wounds at a home on Erskine Creek Road. His son, Sean Patrick Walsh, 32, was found dead at the scene with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
In two other familial violence incidents, one person was left dead
In Oildale, James Strickland, 54, of Bakersfield was shot and killed by his mother’s neighbor on April 14, according to KCSO.
According to Strickland’s mother, he approached her accusing her of keeping lottery winnings from him.
Strickland then allegedly attacked his mother and an 86-year-old neighbor shot and killed James.
Strickland’s mom told 17 News he was schizophrenic and alleged he was using illegal drugs.
In the other case, a woman fatally stabbed Terrion Antwane Anderson, 26, of Taft on Feb. 13 in a domestic dispute, according to KCSO.
The woman was never identified but sheriff’s officials said she cooperated with the investigation.
Regardless of the year, cause of death, or situation, homicide victims have stories and we want to share them. Let us know if you have a loved one killed in a Kern County homicide and we will tell their story.
To contact us call 661-283-1717 or email HomicideTracker@kget.com.