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A string of shootings in Wasco raises alarm

October has started out violently in Wasco, with four separate shootings. Though none were fatal, these incidents have put law enforcement, schools and residents on high alert – even forcing the cancellation of extracurricular events such as the Wasco High School football game against Delano High School on Thursday night. Several other schools followed suit.

Acting Superintendent Kevin Tallon in a statement Friday: "I want to thank everyone in the Wasco Union High School District (WUHSD) community for their patience and support as we worked through schedule alterations that we felt were necessary to ensure the safety of our students and staff.”

He added, “We made the decision to cancel extracurricular activities for the week out of an abundance of caution, and the WUHSD continues to work closely with law enforcement and the community to monitor developments connected to any safety concerns.”

“We have been advised by the Kern County Sheriff's Department that there are not any credible threats to our students, staff, or any of our schools; therefore, I encourage you to allow your student to return to their normal routine of going to class each day and participating in the after-school activities on Monday [Oct. 17].

Mayor Gilberto Reyna was unaware of the first shootings, but the Sheriff’s Department had issued an advisory after the incidents.

At approximately 7:38 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3, deputies were dispatched to the 1000 block of Poso Drive in Wasco for a victim of a shooting, an advisory on the sheriff’s website said. “An adult male victim was shot multiple times by unknown suspect(s). The victim was transported to Kern Medical for treatment. The suspect(s) in this incident were not located or identified,” the statement said.

Later, at 9 p.m., deputies were dispatched to 16th Street and F Street for a second victim of a shooting. The second victim was also shot multiple times by unknown suspect(s). The second adult male victim was transported to Kern Medical for treatment. The suspect(s) in the second incident were not located or identified. It is unknown if the two shootings are related, and the investigation is ongoing, the advisory said.

In his Friday press release, Reyna referred to another shooting on Oct. 4, but the Sheriff’s Department could not verify that such a crime had taken place.

Next, deputies responded to a shooting at about 6:38 p.m. in the 1000 block of Birch Avenue on Tuesday, Oct. 11. An adult male victim was located with a single non-life-threatening gunshot wound, transported to the hospital, and treated for his injuries.

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, at approximately 12:02 a.m., deputies in Wasco received a report of shots fired and responded to Poplar Avenue and First Street. A victim was shot at but not struck. There were no injuries; however, the victim's vehicle and nearby vehicles were damaged.

Deputies responded to the 800 block of 7th Street on Oct. 12 at about 6:30 pm for a report of a shooting. The victim sustained a single gunshot wound. It was later determined to be accidental and self-inflicted. This was a separate and non-related incident.

The KCSO has found no credible threats to schools, parks or any specific activities based on the investigations regarding the incidents, the local officials all said.

Local law enforcement is working hand in hand with school and city officials if the school(s) choose to resume extracurricular activities.

It has been discussed that there is a possibility of increased deputy presence due to community requests.

In the meantime, the KCSO will resume as regular and continue to respond to calls for service and investigation of crimes in the area.

KCSO has indicated it will provide updates regarding these crimes as information becomes available.

Mayor Gilberto Reyna addressed the shootings with a press release expressing the city and community's concern over these incidents.

"Hopefully, the information in this statement can help alleviate some of those concerns."

Reyna said there have been a lot of rumors and misinformation among the community. He asked not to make assumptions or share news before it has been corroborated.

He stressed that investigations are underway, and some details of the crimes have been withheld to protect such efforts' integrity.

"Although we all want immediate answers, the authorities must be allowed the time necessary to complete thorough investigations and bring the perpetrators to justice," Reyna said.

Even so, he stated that although the incidents worry the community, “we cannot give in to fear,” Reyna said in the statement.

"While being cautious, we all must go on with our everyday lives. To this point, we have not confirmed any credible threat to private citizens, random citizens or a particular facility or event," Reyna said.

“The work of maintaining safety for our community continues uninterrupted day and night."

Those with any information related to these cases can contact the Kern County Sheriff's Office at 661-861-3110 or the Secret Witness line at 661-322-4040.


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