FOWLER, California (KSEE) – The community of Fowler is in mourning after two people were shot and killed during a weekend domestic violence incident.
The suspect, 25-year-old Carlos Cruz, is also dead after he led local police on a chase and crashed into a moving train. An autopsy from Fresno County coroner determined he also had a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said Cruz was arrested for domestic violence a month ago, but made bail and was released.
A crowd of people gathered Monday outside the home where authorities say Cruz shot and killed 42-year-old Rafael Garcia and his 16-year-old son Jonathan.
“He was a great father, and husband to my mom,” said Rafael’s oldest son Brandon during the candlelight vigil.
“He was a very, very, very nice man. Hard-working and very responsible,” said Jesus Gonzales about Rafael.
Gonzales lives next door and said he was always a great neighbor. He was home Saturday and heard the deadly shots.
“I was home and I was shocked when I heard the detonation, and I felt real sad. I said ‘oh no, not this close to home I hope nothing happened.’ But it did,” said Gonzales.
The sheriff’s office said Carlos Cruz went to the home to see his estranged wife who he had a child with. Deputies say she is a relative of the Garcia’s. After spending a few hours at the home, there was an argument and Cruz shot Rafael and Jonathan.
The sheriff’s office says Cruz then led law enforcement on a chase, which ended with him colliding into a moving train. He was found dead – an autopsy indicated he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Fresno County Sheriff’s Office says the incident serves as a reminder for everyone to seek help if you or someone you know is being abused.
“It’s going to be a vicious cycle that never ends,” said Tony Botti with the sheriff’s office. “You need to do this to protect yourself and your loved ones because you never know what the person hurting you is capable of.”
Anyone wanting to help the family can donate meals here.