2 people killed as alleged gangsters go on crime spree

2 people killed as alleged gangsters go on crime spree »Play Video
Bakersfield police hold a parameter around an apartment complex at McNew Court and Cottonwood Road on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, while they look for robbery and murder suspects.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Two people were shot and killed in an overnight crime spree in east Bakersfield.

Police said they believe the victims were randomly chosen. Five suspected street robberies occurred starting around 1 a.m. Wednesday, and two of the robberies turned deadly.

At the last location, a man was gunned down outside Kenya Hanks' home.

"I heard like five shootings," Hanks told Eyewitness News on Wednesday afternoon. "Five shots."

The victim is a man she'd often see picking up cans early in the morning.

"He didn't bother nobody," Hanks said. "So, I don't understand why somebody wanted to shoot him."

Within hours, investigators had arrested what they called two documented gang members – 23-year-old Eric Castilleja and 18-year-old Luis Gonzalez – as suspects.

One of the victims gave officers a description of a green truck that was possibly involved, and officers tracked the truck to an apartment complex at McNew Court and Cottonwood Road in southeast Bakersfield.

Police had a large presence at the apartments and established a perimeter Wednesday morning, even deploying its SWAT team. Several subjects exited the apartments and were detained pending further investigation.

Police said robberies occurred at five locations:

At about 1:06 a.m., officers were dispatched to the area of Baker and Lake streets for a report of a victim of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers learned that the victim was sitting in his vehicle when he was approached and robbed at gunpoint. The victim said he was shot in the arm, and he crashed into a light pole trying to get away.

At about 1:14 a.m., officers were dispatched to the 1000 block of Inyo Street regarding a victim of a shooting. Officers arrived to find a man who had been shot and killed. The coroner's office later identified him as 36-year-old Raul Alonso Morales.

At about 2:28 a.m., officers were dispatched to the 3300 block of Union Avenue for a report of a victim of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, officers learned that the victim was a female taxi driver.

At about 2:35 a.m., officers were dispatched to the 1900 block of Baker Street for a report of a victim of an armed robbery. The victim was walking when he was robbed at gunpoint, police said.

At about 2:45 a.m., officers were dispatched to the 1400 block of Williams Street for a report of a shooting. Officers found a man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the upper torso. The victim was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name has been withheld.

At that first incident, a Baker Street resident said from his loft apartment, he heard a vehicle screech in the street.

"I heard the impact of the vehicle," said the man, who didn't want to give his name. "It went 'boom.'"

The man rushed down and saw the victim's SUV spun around in the street.

"There was nobody in there," he said, adding he was relieved not to find a victim. "The pole, which I just got fixed up, was on the ground crashed."

Police had their hands full with the nonstop violence, starting with the incident at Baker and Lake

"As officers were circulating the area for a crime scene, we received additional calls that they had another possible victim," BPD Sgt. Martin Heredia told Eyewitness News.

The next victim was the man found dead on Inyo Street.

It was about an hour later that officers got the call about the armed hold-up on Union Avenue. Staff at a gas station told Eyewitness News that happened at the gas pumps, where the woman cab driver was held up.

Staff said police got surveillance video from the station. That victim was not shot, and neither was the next one – the man walking on Baker Street.

But, the final location was also deadly. That's where the man was killed on Williams Street.

Hanks said she checked on him immediately.

"I tried to go over and to, like, turn him," she said. "But his dogs didn't let us touch him."

She said the victim's dogs were guarding his body.

Hanks said the violence is so senseless. She said people like to go outside when it's cool. "You can't even do that, because you don't know who's going to come by and be stupid," she said.

The man living at Baker and Lake said he won't go outside for an early morning cigarette any more.

"It's not worth my life. I'll stay in the house," he said.

The man said Baker Street sees violence, but not all the time.

"This happens periodically," he said. "But when it happens, it happens."

Over on Williams Street, another neighbor is very frustrated by the crime spree.

"This is just a tragedy that this is happening," Chevy Jones said. "A lot of this has been going on over on this side of town."

The investigation is still underway, police said Wednesday afternoon. They urged anyone with information regarding the alleged robberies or shootings to call police at (661) 327-7111 or Detective Scott Hughes at 326-3501.