Local News

Friday, Apr 27 2012 10:14 AM

Suspect sought in killings of two bail bondsmen in southwest Bakersfield

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    BPD Sgt. spokesperson Mary DeGeare speaks with the press at the scene of a two person fatal shooting incident at the 7800 block of Kamloops Drive late Thursday night.

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    By Alex Horvath / The Californian

    Brandon and Zachary Sims were shot and killed at 7812 Kamloops Drive on Thursday evening.

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By JASON KOTOWSKI and COURTENAY EDELHART, Californian staff writers jkotowski@bakersfield.com; cedelhart@bakersfield.com

Bakersfield Police on Friday said the two men shot to death in a tranquil southwest neighborhood were brothers and bail bondsmen. Police also identified a suspect in their killings.

The suspect was identified as 26-year-old Stephen Michael Stewart. Police said he and another man were seen fleeing the residence Thursday evening, Stewart in a light blue Buick sedan and the other man on foot, police said.

The man who ran from the residence was taken into custody and identified by police as Zachary Adam Perrick. Bakersfield police Sgt. Mary DeGeare said Perrick lived at the Kamloops Drive residence, and was arrested Friday morning on two warrants. His booking information shows the warrants were for drug possession.

It appears the bail bondsmen were at the residence to find Perrick. It’s unclear if they were also looking for Stewart.

The shooting victims were Zachary Daniel Sims, 26, and his brother Brandon Nicholas Sims, 23. Both worked for Bad Dog Bail Bonds and were staking out the house in search of men who the company had bailed out on a charge of possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, a woman who answered the phone at the agency said Friday morning.

Brandon had worked for the company for about four years. Zachary had just left the military about a month and a half ago, the agency said.

The Sims were the sons of the owner of Bad Dog Bail Bonds, the woman at the business said.

A man who answered a phone number associated with the Sims’ father, Vincent Sims, declined to comment, saying, “I am sorry. I can’t do this today.”

Officers who raced to the scene following reports of gunshots at 6:40 p.m. Thursday found one of the brothers dead in the front yard with several gunshot wounds. The other brother was in a hallway of the house; police said he also appeared to have been shot multiple times.

Neighbors described a disturbing scene.

Jose Saenz was next door changing brake pads Thursday evening when he heard what sounded like firecrackers.

He ran a few doors over and saw a car backing out of a garage so quickly that its top scraped the still ascending garage door. The car then sped rapidly down the 7800 block of Kamloops Drive.

Saenz, curious as to what happened, quickly discovered the noises he’d heard weren’t firecrackers going off. They were gunshots.

Saenz saw a man dead on the ground with an apparent bullet wound in the head, he said Friday morning. A short while later police swarmed the neighborhood.

The suspect, Stewart, abandoned the Buick in the 6700 block of Klamath Way and hadn’t been found as of Friday night, police said. Witnesses reported seeing a male driver get out of the car and run.

Stewart is described by police as 6 foot 2 inches tall, 190 pounds, with short brown hair and brown eyes.

Kern County Superior Court records show he pleaded no contest to reckless evading of a peace officer and hit-and-run resulting in property damage in 2009. Seven other charges were dismissed and he was sentenced to a year in jail.

Stewart pleaded no contest to spousal abuse in 2008, the records say, and last year he pleaded no contest to driving without a license.

Perrick, 24, the man in custody, failed to appear for a court hearing April 9, according to court records. In that case, he pleaded guilty to drug possession. A charge of drug possession while armed with a loaded gun was dismissed.

Ollie Hoss said nothing like the shootings has happened in the many years he’s lived in the area. He said it’s a quiet neighborhood where the worst that happened before Thursday was a few burglaries over the years.

Hoss said he has no intention of leaving the neighborhood, and he feels safe. The 76-year-old takes precautions.

“I always have a loaded gun around,” Hoss said.

He said he couldn’t imagine what the Sims family must be going through.

“If my two grandsons got shot that would destroy me,” he said.

The California Bail Agents Association issued a news release Friday expressing sadness at the death of the brothers.

“These young men paid the ultimate price while seeking justice for a crime victim — by trying to ensure that a defendant showed up to stand trial in court,” said CBAA president Vera Roble Dewitt in the release. “Unfortunately, this noble endeavor had a very tragic ending.

“We stand with the Sims family and bail agents around the state in supporting local law enforcement around the state to bring Brandon and Zachary’s murderer or murderers to justice.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Bakersfield Police at 327-7111.

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