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Shooting that wounded 14 at Bakersfield party felt like 'the OK Corral,' witness says

Shooting that wounded 14 at Bakersfield party felt like 'the OK Corral,' witness says
Police at the scene of the July 16 Bakersfield shooting. (KTLA)

Many of the victims of a shooting that wounded 14 people in Bakersfield early Saturday were teenagers, one as young as 13, according to witnesses.

Police on Sunday continued to look for three young men who detectives believe were involved in the attack.

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The men, who were told to leave a Bakersfield house party, returned and opened fire into a crowd of more than 100 teenagers, injuring 14 people, authorities said.

The shooting occurred about 1 a.m. in the 600 block of Stephens Drive and left two people in critical condition,  said Ray Pruitt, a spokesman for the Kern County Sheriff's Department. All of the victims are expected to survive.

Pruitt described the suspects as black males between the ages of 16 and 19.

A girl who lives at the home where the shooting occurred was given permission to throw a party by her parents and promoted the event on social media, Pruitt told The Times.

"At some point, people who were not invited showed up," he said. The party swelled to at least 150 revelers and "at some point, it got out of control," Pruitt added.

Authorities believe a verbal confrontation took place between two different groups in the backyard of the house, and several people were told to leave the party.

"They did leave, and we believe it was those individuals who left the party that came back and opened fire on the crowd," Pruitt said, adding that investigators believe the shooting was gang-related.

The sheriff's department said the incident was initially believed to be a drive-by shooting, but Pruitt said investigators now believe the three males got out of a vehicle, walked up to the crowd outside the home and opened fire before fleeing in the vehicle.

Authorities also believe that at least one person in the crowd returned fire.

Pruitt said his department does not have a description of the vehicle, and deputies have been having difficulty getting victims and witnesses to identify the shooters.

Witnesses told the Bakersfield Californian that the injured included a 13-year-old and that 30 rounds were fired.

"We just heard screaming," Julie Burton told the paper, adding the incident felt like the "OK Corral."

The family who lives in the home where the party occurred also expressed shock at the violence.

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"I'm sorry for what happened to the kids that was here last night!....My heart goes out to every mother, every child. My prayers are with you and your family," Alicea Wallace told KBAK-TV.

Vic Hager, 63, lives across the street from the house where the party and shooting took place.

In a phone interview with The Times on Saturday, he said there were at least 150 people at the party. Most attendees appeared to have been dropped off because the street was not filled with cars, he said.

The party got a little noisy, Hager said, adding that "it wasn't out of line."

Pruitt, the sheriff's spokesman, said he was not aware of any noise complaints reported before the shots were fired.

Hager said he had just gone to bed about 12:30 a.m. when he heard what sounded like fireworks.

"Then the pops got a little slower, and I realized it was a gun, and by the time I looked out my window, everyone was scattering," Hager said.

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