HANFORD, California (KSEE) — A birthday party turned into a tragedy after a Kings County employee shot his friend and father, before ultimately shooting and killing himself. The investigation found it happened after the victims intervened on a domestic dispute with the suspect — the Kings County Sheriff is calling those actions “heroic.”
Julio Arevalo first thought he heard fireworks Saturday night, hearing a series of popping noises from his room. However, after he heard more, he realized he was hearing gunshots.
When he got outside of his home, he saw a body on the ground at his neighbor’s home across the street.
“At that point, there were already people outside on the phone. I assume they were calling the police,” he said.
The Kings County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to 911 calls around 9 p.m. Saturday at a home by Eddy and David streets in Hanford. There, deputies found three men shot.
Ramiro Trevino Jr., a Kings County welfare fraud investigator, and off-duty Lemoore Police officer Jonathan Diaz were dead. Ramiro Trevino Sr. was alive and rushed to the hospital. At last check, he remains in critical condition Sunday night.
Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson said the investigation found Trevino Jr. was hosting a birthday party for his father at his home. When things were winding down, he got into some sort of fight with his girlfriend.
Diaz and Trevino Sr. intervened.
“During that incident, the two victims and another witness helped remove the girlfriend from the residence and got her out safely,” said Robinson.
Soon after, the shooting happened. It’s not clear yet who got shot first, but in the end, Trevino Jr. shot himself and died, according to the investigators.
Diaz, who was Lemoore Police’s Officer of the Year in 2018, was also on the Kings County Major Crimes Unit. It’s an appointment, Robinson said, that really speaks to Diaz’s character.
“You don’t typically see somebody getting assigned to a special unit like that unless they’re a hard charger, a hard worker,” he said. “My gut tells me that he was probably a really good cop.”
At a press conference Sunday morning, Robinson really stressed how Diaz and Trevino Sr. really put themselves on the line to help save someone else.
“They were trying to do the right thing by calming the situation and getting parties separated. Unfortunately, it just escalated to the point where shots were fire and people died,” he said.
Investigators found two handguns and an AR-15-style rifle at Trevino Jr.’s home. Two are registered to him, while the third is a gun he’s issued for his job.
Robinson said investigators are now looking into texts and other digital communications to see if anything else triggered this tragedy.