BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Sunday night before the sun even went down, a 14-year-old was shot twice in a parking lot in South Bakersfield. Law enforcement said he was shot unintentionally, raising many questions. Right now, police say this crime is so fresh that their investigative unit is still trying to put the pieces together.
The boy appeared to be at the wrong place at the wrong time according to the Bakersfield Police Department. That place was a parking lot in front of a restaurant near White Lane and H Street at around 6 pm Sunday night.
"That's all the information I have right now but I know investigators are actively looking into this," said Bakersfield Police Department Community Relations Specialist Kelsey Brackett.
According to Brackett, a suspect fired shots toward a group of people standing in a parking lot. BPD says the fourteen-year-old was not part of that group and appeared to be struck randomly. The teen was taken to a local hospital with moderate injuries.
Covering Kern County
Shooting in South Bakersfield injures 14-year-old boy
"It's very unfortunate. We are currently facing crimes that people, innocent bystanders, which it appears the fourteen-year-old was in this case, are being injured. Unintentionally being shot at," continued Brackett. "I highly recommend people out and about, of course, always stay vigilant, always be on the lookout."
BPD said the suspect left the scene going westbound on White Lane, in a dark-colored vehicle. Not much else is known about the suspect at this time, and no arrests have been made.
"If anyone has any information on this case, please call 661-327-7111. You can call with the full description of maybe what you saw, what you heard," said Brackett.
The Bakersfield Police Department told 23ABC they've responded to 63 reports a quarter-mile around the 2000 block of White Lane since January 1st. Most of them related to auto thefts, catalytic converter thefts, or burglaries. BPD added that firearm-related calls accounted for 3 of those (2 possession, 1 of shots fired). And across Bakersfield, there have been 32 shootings during daylight hours this year.
23ABC spoke to businesses in the area, and none were able to provide information on the shooting or had surveillance footage of the parking lot to share.
"It's up to the businesses if this [incident] would set a new trend for them. I know most businesses do have surveillance, if not for the general area, but to protect themselves," continued Brackett. "We always recommend that when we're doing safety inspections for businesses or homeowners. Video surveillance is an extremely useful tool for law enforcement."
Bakersfield residents weighed in on the 23ABC Facebook page about the incident, one viewer in part saying: "You guys really need to find these people. In the last week, I've heard about three kids being shot with weapons."
Another viewer said: "There was one just like that yesterday on Brundage. Is there some rando driving around shooting at people hanging out in parking lots?"
23ABC We also spoke to shoppers in the area who were unwilling to go on camera. None of them had heard of the shooting before speaking with us.