After a record-setting year of homicides, Kern County already has 4 in 2021

Kern County Sheriff's Office
Kern County Sheriff's Office (FILE)
Kern County Sheriff's Office (FILE)
Posted at 5:31 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 11:52:43-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — After a record-setting year of homicides in 2020, less than a week into 2021 and there have already been 4 homicide victims in Kern County. 23ABC's Bayan Wang has a break down of those incidents, and what the Bakersfield Police department is saying about how this year has begun.

On the first day of the new year, the Kern County Sheriff's Ofice responded to reports of a shooting near Rosewood Avenue and Morning Drive in East Bakersfield shortly before 11 p.m. They found a man with traumatic injuries to the upper torso. He died on the scene and a suspect is still outstanding.

Deputies were also dealing with another deadly shooting in East Bakersfield less than 24 hours later when they found 34-year-old Ruben Jose Vega with major injuries near Oregon Street. He died at Kern Medical and a suspect in this case is also outstanding.

On that same day, Bakersfield police officers responded to the Vagabond Inn Motel in South Bakersfield for reports of a shooting. Twenty-five-year-old Mario Velasquez was arrested by police for two counts of murder in this case.

With nearly a year to go, it's too early to tell whether 2021 will shape up to be anything like 2020.

Sgt. Robert Pair with the Bakersfield Police Department hopes that's not the case.

"We're hoping that through proactive law enforcement as well as various grants and community-driven initiatives that we can impact and lessen that number."