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Chilling details emerge about execution-style killing of TikTok star at movie theater

Joseph Jimenez looks at his attorney, Charles Kenyon, during his arraignment at the Riverside Hall of Justice on Thursday.
(Watchara Phomicinda/Pool)

Prosecutors and police this week revealed more details regarding the fatal shootings of a TikTok star and his friend at a Corona movie theater.

The shooting stunned Anthony Barajas’ fans and prompted an outpouring of grief. Barajas, a graduate of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, had nearly 1 million TikTok followers, who came to know him through his lip-sync videos, skits with his friends and musings on relationships and heartache.

Many questions remain unanswered, including a motive for the attack.

Here is what we know.

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The shooting

Barajas, 19, and Rylee Goodrich, 18, were watching “The Forever Purge,” a horror film that features a night of lawlessness and killing, on July 26 when both of them were shot in the head execution-style, according to prosecutors.

The suspect, Joseph Jimenez of Corona, and the victims did not appear to know each other, said Corona police, who have described the shootings as “an unprovoked attack.”

In a search warrant obtained by The Times, Corona Det. Jason Goudy said six people were in the audience for the 9:35 p.m. movie.

Jimenez, 20, was watching the movie with three friends. He left halfway through, returning with a bag and informing them that he had a “strap,” according to the warrant.

The friends told investigators that they believed Jimenez, who was mumbling and talking to himself, had brought a gun into the theater.

They told him they needed to use the bathroom, then left the theater, the warrant said. That left only Barajas and Goodrich inside with Jimenez.

Jimenez’s friends were still in the parking lot when they saw him “run outside the theater and run to his vehicle” and speed away, according to the warrant.

Employees who went to clean the theater after the movie found “two victims with substantial amount of blood and could not tell if they were alive,” the warrant said.

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The male victim had a gunshot wound to the head “with several projectiles lodged in his brain area.”

The suspect

In addition to the two counts of murder, the charges against Jimenez include a special circumstance of multiple murder and a special circumstance of lying in wait because he sneaked up and attacked the victims, district attorney’s spokesman John Hall said Thursday after Jimenez’s arraignment was postponed.

The charges make Jimenez eligible for the death penalty.

Among the items detectives found in a search of Jimenez’s home were a Glock handgun and a victim’s wallet.

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In the jailhouse interview, Jimenez told the Press-Enterprise that he walked up behind the victims, shooting Barajas first.

Goodrich “sort of jumped,” and he shot her, then ran from the theater, the newspaper reported.

Jimenez, a graduate of Santiago High School, said that if he could relive the night of the shooting, he would have left the theater first and not come back.

He offered “condolences” to the victims’ families.

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“I wish I didn’t do it,” he said.

Jimenez told the newspaper that he heard voices in his head saying his friends and family were going to be killed.

Asked if he believed that killing Barajas and Goodrich was the only way to save his loved ones, he responded, “Basically, yeah.”

Jimenez said he had recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia but had stopped taking his medication because he ran out of pills.


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