Just before 8:00 Saturday night, Tulare County Sheriff's deputies locked down a piece of property on the Tule Indian Reservation near Porterville.
Inside a trailer, investigators found three people who had been shot.
61-year old Francisco Moreno was dead, as was 60-year old Irene Celaya. 6-year old, Andrew Celaya was critically wounded. Meanwhile, inside a nearby shed, 53-year old Bernard Franco was also found deceased.
A witness told investigators that 31-year old Hector Celaya was responsible.
“He's known to law enforcement and is a possible drug user as well,” said Sgt. Chris Douglass of the Tulare Co. Sheriff’s Dept.
Deputies knew Celaya was in a green jeep with his two daughters inside. Just before 2 a.m. Sunday, a deputy spotted the vehicle on Avenue 256 outside Exeter and got him to pull over.
“We attempted to get him out of the vehicle and shots were fired inside the vehicle. Not necessarily at our deputies but inside the vehicle,” said Sgt. Douglass.
It's believed that's when Celaya shot his two girls.
“So deputies shot their firearms at the suspect and the suspect was struck,” said Sgt. Douglass.
Everyone was rushed to the hospital. Hector Celaya eventually died, as did his 8-year old daughter Alyssa. Her sister, 5-year old Linea, was seriously injured.
This senseless violence has community members confused and upset.
“I just don't know what trigger him to do that and try to hurt his own children,” said Gabriela Salazar.
“They were innocent. Why shoot them? They didn't have anything to do with whatever problem he had. It's good that they tracked him down because he won't harm anyone else. Take people like that off the streets,” said Lupe Perez.
Investigators continue to interview many people and process a lot of evidence. That coupled with the autopsies of all the victims could explain the motive behind this violence.
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