“Primary suspect” in killing of 5-year-old arrested on unrelated charges

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Update: The Bakersfield Police Department provided an update after the story was published today, saying Knight is one of several persons of interest in the murder of Kason Guyton. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to call detective Keegan Gavin at 326-3557.

Two top West Side Crips gang members have been arrested, Bakersfield police said Wednesday.

One of the men has been named as the prime suspect in the killing of 5-year-old Kason Guyton in 2017.

That suspect is Johnathan Knight, 28, who was booked on charges of parole violation and resisting arrest.

Knight was not arrested in connection with the killing of the child, but he was named in court documents earlier this year as the primary suspect in the case. Bakersfield police declined Wednesday  morning to comment on his possible connection to the boy’s killing.

That crime shocked the community and preceded the gang sweep that targeted the West Side Crips.

Bakersfield police and the FBI also arrested Tommie Thomas, 36, on a federal warrant connected to that gang sweep in December, according to BPD Sgt. Brian Holcombe.

Knight was one of many gang members picked up the sweep. Following the sweep, a search warrant was issued. It said, in part, “Knight is one of the primary suspects in the murder of Kason Guyton.”

The warrant also said Knight goes by the nickname “Lil Mice.” The FBI named the massive gang sweep, “Operation Blind Mice. An FBI affidavit suggests the name comes from an informant telling officers “the three mice” killed 5-year-old Kason Guyton.

Knight is the only person named as a suspect in the homicide.

Kason Guyton was shot and killed Feb. 23, 2017 as he rode in the back seat of his mother’s boyfriend’s car on California Avenue.

Knight is due in court Thursday and his bail is set at $5,000.

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