22 days with no reported homicides in Kern County

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET)—It’s been 22 days since Kern County had a homicide- the longest span without a homicide all year. 

Just last month, October ended with 10 homicides- all but one linked to gun violence. The last 14 days of October saw seven homicides all located in central or east Bakersfield, according to our KGET Homicide Tracker

Our Homicide Tracker focuses on documenting every murder victim in Kern County and giving them a voice through the words of family and friends. According our Homicide Tracker there have been 62 homicides linked to gun violence in Kern County in 2019.

Local authorities link most gun violence with gang affiliations. One victim, Sarah Bustamante, 38, was shot and killed on Oct. 5 by a Bakersfield gang member who believed the victim was in a rival gang. 

Last week Bakersfield Police arrested 20-year-old Keontay Shoemake for killing Bustamante behind Tommy’s Liquor Store on 2501 S. Chester Avenue. Shoemake fired once from his vehicle and realized he’d made a mistake according to court documents. Despite realizing this, Shoemake stepped out of his vehicle and shot Bustamante a second time.

Bustamante often spent her time on the streets and those who knew her tell KGET that she never bothered anyone and didn’t deserve what happened. 

Unfortunately, justice doesn’t come to every victim. Only two arrests were made out of the 10 homicides last month with many more unsolved.

These past 22 days without a reported homicide are an anomaly in a county ridden with crime. This summer, the California Department of Justice ranked Kern County number one in homicides for the second straight year in California. 

With only 42 days left in the year, Kern County sits at 86 confirmed homicides. Despite the high rate of violence, the county has recorded 17 fewer homicides than this time last year. 

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