Local News

Sunday, May 19 2013 01:07 PM

Ridgeview High School football star injured in party shooting

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Ridgeview High student Kamari Cotton-Moya signed Wednesday to play football for Iowa State.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Neighbors say a party at 2308 Edwards Avenue spilled into the street where a fight broke out and shots were fired in the normally quiet neighborhood. Ridgeview High School star quarterback Kamari Cotton-Moya was shot in the chest and another man, Kolin Jones, was shot several times. The injuries were reported not to be life threatening.

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BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

Ridgeview High School star quarterback Kamari Cotton-Moya, 18, was shot in the arm just after midnight Sunday morning when gunfire broke out at a large party in east Bakersfield. A second man, Kolin Jones, 18, was also shot several times.

Neither man’s injuries were life-threatening, Kern County Sheriff’s deputies reported.

Cotton-Moya texted The Californian Sunday afternoon to say he was “perfectly fine” after being shot in the right arm during what neighbors called an unsupervised party that got “out of control,” filling Edwards Avenue with fighting, wild teenagers.

Both Cotton-Moya and Jones were taken by private means to Kern Medical Center where they were treated for their injuries.

Ridgeview Coach Dennis Manning, in a texted response to a reporter’s inquiry, said Cotton-Moya has been released from the hospital.

"All I know is he is home and just fine," Manning wrote.

Cotton-Moya wrote that he was at a “going away” party for a close childhood friend at the home on Edwards Avenue when a conflict started “between some other people.”

He was in a parked car near where the fighting was when the guns were drawn and bullets started flying. 

“Nothing was intended for me or my friend, we just happened to be in the way,” he wrote.

Cotton-Moya was hit in the arm, he said.

“I’m fine, back to normal...,” Cotton-Moya wrote Sunday.

The 6-foot-2, 180 pound senior was named The Californian's Football Player of the Year for the 2012 season.

In his final season with the Wolf Pack he ran for 2,258 yards and 27 touchdowns and threw for another 1,341 yards and lead Ridgeview to the school’s first Central Section Division III football title. 

"He's just the best athlete that I've coached, no question about it," said Manning for an earlier profile of Cotton-Moya. "He's the greatest competitor I've ever coached. His desire to win is second to none."

Cotton-Moya graduates from high-school this year and has agreed to play for Iowa State.

Kern County Sheriff’s Department reports state that at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday a rash of emergency calls alerted deputies to gunshots at a party in the 2200 block of Edwards Ave. just east of Mt. Vernon Avenue near KMC.

Deputies reported they arrived at the party, attended by approximately 100 people, and located “several spent shell casings in the roadway.”

But they did not find any victims.

As the investigation of the incident continued, the Sheriff’s Department was contacted by KMC staff and told that two gunshot victims had arrived at the hospital, reports stated.

Cotton-Moya, identified as Kamari Cotton in Sheriff’s Department reports, was reported to have a single gunshot wound to the upper body. 

Jones was hit one time in the face and “several” times in the shoulder, according to reports.

Kern Medical Center indicated, on Sunday afternoon, that neither Jones or Cotton-Moya were still at the hospital.

Neighbor Michelle Romero said the home across the street had been hosts to family parties before, but they were calm affairs that stayed in the backyard.

In the day before this party, she said, people had arrived with a couple of kegs of beer.

The party was just starting out when Romero went to bed at around 10 p.m. Saturday.

She woke up to the dogs barking a couple hours later and heard the roar of people and fighting outside.

While she was asleep, she said, texting and cellphones had boosted the party’s invite list to out-of-control proportions.

Her daughter told her she’d heard gunshots and Romero headed outside to find her street filled with a chaos of teenagers, and younger youths, running, walking about, throwing empty alcohol bottles and fighting.

It looked like the whole student population of East High School was outside her home, she said.

“The whole street was full of kids,” Romero said.

Romero said she and neighbors called law enforcement from their yards after gunshots were heard and the Sheriff’s helicopter flew in with its lights blazing.

“Kids came pouring out of the backyard,” she said.

Romero said she talked to the boy who hosted the party and he said he had stayed in the backyard until the fighting started. When he came into the front yard to see what was happening, she said, he got hit in the head with a bottle.

“There was no parent there,” Romero said. “The parents were out of town.”

No information about a suspect or suspects was reported and the Sheriff’s Department is requesting that anyone who knows anything about the shooting contact them at (661) 861-3110 or the Secret Witness hotline at (661) 322-4040.

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