Local News

Tuesday, Sep 07 2010 05:02 PM

Shots fired in Bakersfield park near South High

BY JASON KOTOWSKI, Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

Several shots were fired at a south Bakersfield park Tuesday afternoon shortly after classes at an area high school finished for the day, marking the second shooting at a city park within the past two weeks.

No injuries had been reported in the 2:35 p.m. shooting at Planz Park, said Bakersfield police Sgt. Jason Townsend. The park is on South H Street, north of White Lane and east of Highway 99.

Two city park workers were leaving the park in a city truck when they saw a man being chased by a group of five to six other men, Townsend and a police news release said. All the men were described as being in their mid to late teens.

The man being chased jumped in the back of the city truck and grabbed a shovel to defend himself. One of the other men pulled a gun and fired at least three shots, one of them shattering the back of the truck's window, Townsend said. The city employees ducked down in the cab and were not injured.

The shooter tossed the gun into a light blue vehicle that then drove away, police said.

The shooter and the other men ran southbound on the railroad tracks and the man who had been chased jumped from the truck and ran northbound on the tracks, Townsend said. No suspect information was immediately available, but since classes at South High School had finished just before the shooting police are investigating whether students at the school were involved. The high school is located just east of the park.

Cecilia Gutierrez was at the park with her two young children when the shooting happened. She said she sees fights there all the time, as well as groups of teens smoking marijuana.

Paul Torrealba, who lives with Gutierrez, said he rushed over as soon as he could when he heard about the shooting.

"I was like, 'What the heck?'" Torrealba said. "There were a whole bunch of cops."

About a dozen police vehicles were parked at or near the park, and more were parked at South High School.

South High student Chelsea Towey said she'd never seen so many police officers in one place. She was at the park at about 3 p.m., but hadn't been there at the time of the shooting.

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

This is the second recent shooting at a city park. Quinardo Cornejo, 30, was shot and killed at Jastro Park on Aug. 28. No one has been arrested.

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