The fifth shooting in a month in Tehachapi leaves one man dead and community asking questions

Police say all shootings may be linked

TEHACHAPI, Calif. -  

There has been another murder in the small mountain community of Tehachapi.

Police and sheriff's deputies are teaming up to solve the recent spike in violent crime there.

Tehachapi police say 54-year-old Jim Motts was found shot in the head in the garage about 9 Thursday night.

Neighbors we spoke to say Motts was a nice guy who fixed cars at his house to make ends meet.

"Jim just lost his mother a couple of months ago and now his own life, and I feel sorry for his family and his wife," said a neighbor who asked not to be identified.

This is the fifth shooting reported in the Tehachapi area in the last month.

"You don't know what’s going on now days. There are a lot of crazy things; it’s too close to the neighborhood and the houses and we all got kids," said the neighbor.

Police say it started when someone shot into two homes and a man was murdered in Old Ranch in late September.

Then last weekend, another report of shots fired.

Police found shell casings but no injuries or damage was reported.

Now another murder.

Tehachapi’s police chief said people who live there don’t need to be worried about their safety. He said none of the recent shootings were random.

"The general public has not been a target in any of these instances," said Tehachapi Police Chief Jeff Kermode.

Police have already connected all of the earlier shootings and now the newest murder is likely related too.

"It does appear that everyone involved in these situations knows each other one way or another," Kermode said.

Police and sheriff deputies say they are making progress on their investigation.

"Our two agencies have identified some people of interest that we are focusing on, but we are not releasing any of those names at this time," Kermode said.

The secret witness hotline has now been activated for this case.

You can call 322-4040 or text tips to tip411; just type the keyword KCSO before the message and you can remain anonymous.

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