Bakersfield seeing spike in shooting crimes

Posted at 6:35 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 21:35:55-04

A recent surge in Bakersfield-area shootings has local law enforcement looking for a connection.

The Kern County Sheriff's Office says they've investigated 7 shootings in the past 3 weeks; those, combined with investigations from other agencies, has resulted in 6 shooting investigations in Bakersfield in the last week alone.

"We have seen, it seems like, an increase in the last few weeks," said Ray Pruitt of KCSO.

KCSO also said that they believe that at least some of the cases are connected and related to gang activity.

For local groups whose focus is getting violence off the streets of Bakersfield, the recent trend is a grave concern.

"There's no rules anymore on the streets," says Manuel Carrizalez, Jr.

He's the founder of Stay Focused Ministries and does work with the Safe Streets Initiative, a national campaign aimed at gang violence.

"We're crying out to the community," says Isaiah Crompton, who does work with Stop the Violence, a Kern County organization focused on fulfilling its namesake.

"Let's work together to make the community safe for our seniors and our kids."

Both men were once in jail themselves; now, they spend time reaching out to local youth, trying to keep the off the streets.

"We gotta make this stick, we gotta make a stand," Carrizalez said.

If you're looking for help in escaping street violence in Bakersfield, you can reach out to Carrizalez and Stay Focused Ministries at 661-322-4673.