Breaking News Blog

Thursday, Aug 07 2014 08:34 AM

Triple homicide in Bakersfield a rarity

  1. 1 of 4

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    William Matthews at the apartment complex at 1728 Quincy Street where his son, Zephaniah, and two others were shot to death Wednesday night.

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  2. 2 of 4

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Intruders kicked in the door of this apartment at 1728 Quincy Street and shot four people, killing three the night of Aug. 6.

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  3. 3 of 4

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Four people were shot, three fatally, at this apartment at 1728 Quincy Street Wednesday night when intruders kicked in the door and began shooting.

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  4. 4 of 4

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    A busted door jam at an apartment complex at 1728 Quincy St. where intruders kicked in the door and shot four people, three fatally.

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

Marking the city's first triple homicide in years, masked men stormed an east Bakersfield apartment late Wednesday evening and fatally shot three people.

The suspects remained at large as of Thursday evening.

The shooting was reported at about 11 p.m. in the 1700 block of Quincy Street. Kern County sheriff's deputies found a total of four victims, one of whom remained in serious but stable condition Thursday.

All of the victims are men, deputies said.

A man who left the apartment Thursday morning identified himself as the father of one of the victims. William Matthews said his son, 29-year-old Zephania Matthews, was an outgoing man and father of two who'd recently celebrated a birthday.

He said his son lived at the apartment where the shooting occurred. Zephania Matthews' children, ages 9 and 3, were upstairs at the time.

William Matthews said he's been told the suspects kicked in the door and immediately opened fire, striking his son and three other men. He said a woman was also downstairs at the time but wasn't hit.

Matthews said his son had previously told him he wasn't involved in gangs. He worked as a telemarketer and a rapper.

Elizabeth Miller, who lives in a nearby apartment, said Zephania Matthews always had a smile on his face and greeted everyone. He was always singing, she said.

She said she at first thought the gunshots were firecrackers. The entire incident was over within two minutes, and the shooters were gone by the time she went outside.

Miller said she and other neighbors tried to help the victims. Someone performed CPR on Zephania Williams, and she went upstairs and led his children outside.

"Two babies don't have a dad for no reason," Miller said.

No description of the suspects were available. The identity of the victims was being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt said late Thursday afternoon no motive had been established, and no other information was available for release.

Killings involving three or more victims are extremely rare in Kern County. It appears the last time three or more people were killed occurred when Vincent Brothers shot and stabbed to death his mother-in-law, estranged wife and their three small children in July 2003.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 861-3110.

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