BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET — The U.S. State Department, by way of the Bakersfield Police Department, has released a cause of death in the case of Timothy Kieth Moore of Bakersfield.
Moore, as you may remember, was the driver of the car that struck and killed Black Lives Matter protester Robert Forbes in central Bakersfield the night of June 3.
According to the State Department, Moore died Sept. 6 in Rosarito Beach, Baja Mexico, from “accident or violence.” It’s not clear if Moore’s death was a criminal homicide, and efforts to get clarification were not immediately successful.
But according to a criminal complaint against Moore alleging narcotics trafficking violations filed by a Homeland Security investigator back in March, Moore crossed the border into Baja — where he was killed — 14 times between July and November of last year.
He and a co-defendant, 38-year-old Jesse Daniel “Grumpy” Talaugan of San Luis Obispo, had been due in court the week after Moore’s death for a pre-preliminary hearing on numerous drug and gun charges, concluding a yearlong investigation.
Talaugan, a member of the Sick Boys street gang, according the SLO Sheriff’s Department, is now the lone defendant in that case. His first hearing — delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic — is set for this month.
In the more recent case, Moore, 42, had admitted driving his car into Forbes, a BLM protester, on a darkened stretch of California Avenue five months ago, causing fatal injuries. Moore had said the crash was unintentional. The incident was the subject of an ongoing Bakersfield Police investigation — but that investigation is now obviously moot.
Moore’s sister, Alicia Moore, had briefly established a GoFundMe account to cover expenses to bring her brother’s remains home from Mexico, and in the narrative wrote that a State Department told her, “Usually when it’s a murder case in Mexico they do not allow cremation! So we will have to have him shipped back here.” But that narrative was later deleted. However, his sister, in that GoFundMe post, had said specifically that, “No, he was not killed by a drug cartel.”
Moore’s car struck protest marcher Forbes on California Avenue, just east of Oak Street, and as of August officials with the Bakersfield Police Department said they were still investigating the possibility of a purposeful act on Moore’s part. Two witnesses told Bakersfield police they believed Moore may have hit Forbes on purpose; one said he believed Moore accelerated as he approached the protesters. But, according to BPD, other witnesses at the scene said Moore did not appear to accelerate.
Video from nearby stationary cameras indicated Moore was not speeding, his lights were on and he didn’t leave the scene. He also was not under the influence, police said. But complicating matters was the fact that Moore had tattoos that might associate him with white nationalist groups, and BPD said those possible associations were part of the investigation.
Attempts over several weeks to ask Moore about the traffic incident — and the tattoos — were unsuccessful.
Moore’s sister acknowledged in her GoFundMe post that her brother had “many ups and downs in life” but was “a very good friend” to many.