6 hospitalized after shooting breaks out at party in Bakersfield

A shooting broke out at a party in central California, sending six people to the hospital on Saturday and launching a search for four suspects, authorities said.

The party, happening amid statewide stay-at-home orders intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus, may have gone unnoticed until frantic witnesses called 911 shortly after midnight from an apartment complex in Bakersfield, Kern County Sheriff’s Lt. Cesa Ollague said.

“Unfortunately it came to a bad end,” he said.

Deputies who responded to the scene said the party was large, Ollague said, but he didn’t know exactly how many people were in attendance.

The victims, including one juvenile and five adults, suffered gunshot wounds but they were expected to survive, he said.

Investigators found 94 shell cases and three live rounds at the scene.

The partygoers reported seeing four men driving away in a white car, the lieutenant said, and investigators were trying to determine whether they attended the party or were participants of a drive-by shooting.

Since March 19, California’s social distancing order has banned nonessential gatherings of any number of people. The state’s 40 million residents are told to only leave their homes for “essential” reasons, such as to get medications, shop for groceries and supplies, care for family members and exercise outdoors.

The state has more than 21,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 600 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.