Double-murder, murder-suicide in Visalia are unrelated, says Chief Mestas

VISALIA, Calif. - A murder-suicide Friday night and a double homicide earlier in the day in Visalia are unrelated, Police Chief Colleen Mestas said at a news conference Saturday morning.

But no one at the department could recall three homicides, plus a suicide, happening in a single day in Visalia before Friday.

"The public needs to understand there is not a homicidal suspect out there running around," Mestas said.

The murder suicide in the parking lot of a hotel in west Visalia was related to domestic violence between a Fresno man and his ex-girlfriend, she said.

The double homicide was deliberate and not a random act, she said.

Police Sgt. Greg Byerlee said the murder-suicide happened about 10:30 p.m. at the La Quinta Inn on Cypress Avenue, just off Akers Street. It's in a commercial complex just south of Highway 198; Visalia Adventure Park, a popular amusement park, is just past the motel on Cypress and was still open at the time of the shooting.

Byerlee said police called to the motel learned that a person was shot and killed there after an argument and then the shooter drove to the other side of the motel parking lot and shot himself.

The woman killed in the murder-suicide was identified as Celina Simone Lopez, 19, who lived in Farmersville or Fresno, police said.

The shooter, who took his own life, was identified as Carlos Navarro, 25, of Fresno.

Those deaths followed a Friday morning incident just a few blocks northeast, near Visalia Golf Club, that left two people dead. Police on Friday released few details about the morning case other than to say they believe the victims were targeted.

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