A California man has been arrested and charged with murder after opening fire on his family at a Christmas gathering while they opened presents Christmas day. Austin Alvarez, 23, fatally shot his own grandmother and father’s girlfriend before fleeing the home on the 17000 block of Goodfellow Avenue in Reedley. Deputies responded to the home at about 1:45 p.m. and found Magdalena Alvarez and Meisa Rashid with fatal injuries. Alvarez is facing two charges of murder and one charge of attempted murder. His bail was set at $2.5 million.
What Happened During the Shooting?
Officials said they learned through interviews that the suspect, Austin Alvarez, arrived at the home as Christmas gifts were being opened and began to fire. Bullets ended up fatally striking Magdalena, 58, and Meisa, 39. “During the visit, Alvarez fired shots striking his grandmother and his father’s girlfriend,” the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. “As Alvarez was leaving the house, he noticed his father in a parked vehicle,” the sheriff’s office said in the release. “Alvarez fired shots in his direction, but did not strike him.” He then fled the home in a GMC pickup truck.
Shooter is Found Hours Later
Thanks to a combined effort with the California Highway Patrol and the Reedley, Sanger, Orange Cove and Kingsburg police departments to find the suspect, Alvarez was ultimately arrested hours after the shooting. A team of officers eventually tracked Alvarez down near the intersection of American and Anchor avenues in Orange Cove, roughly 10 miles from the shooting scene, according to the sheriff’s office. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing and clear motive has not been established. This makes us wonder if there is an aspect of mental health in this case, or did some type of altercation occur? What could have caused Alvarez to snap the way he did?
Alvarez was booked into the Fresno County Jail on two charges of murder and one charge of attempted murder, with a $2.5 million bail. It is unclear if his remaining family is supportive of the suspect. Though, it seems doubtful as he remains in custody as of this Monday morning, according to jail records. If Alvarez has been given a lawyer, they have not made any type of statement and remain unknown. This unfortunate tragedy could have ended a lot worse if we didn’t have law enforcement who serve and protect on Christmas rather than be with their families. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said a motive hasn’t been established and the investigation is ongoing Anyone with additional information about this case is asked to contact Detective Richard Antunez at 559-600-8221 or Valley Crime Stoppers at 559-498-7867, www.valleycrimestoppers.org.
Written by: Erinn Malloy