A massive manhunt is underway in California for an unhinged gunman who authorities believe may be behind the shooting of two police officers, the killing of another man and kidnapping of three people inside a cabin.
Authorities are scouring a rugged area near Bakersfield, California, where they say an “armed and dangerous” suspect is at large after he allegedly held three young men hostage at gunpoint last Tuesday inside a remote rural cabin he was squatting in.
The suspect may also be tied to the death of a 64-year-old man found fatally shot in his cabin on Thursday about 10 miles from the first cabin, as well as the wounding of two deputies, Kern County sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt said.
“We’re having to move very slowly and meticulously,” Pruitt said. “He has shown he is not hesitant to engage law enforcement officers in a shootout.”
It’s unclear if the same man committed the series of crimes, as the wildnerness manhunt entered its seventh day on Tuesday.
“We’re continuing the search,” Pruitt told the Daily News.
The fugitive, described as a 5-foot-8 white man in his 30s, appears to be breaking into unoccupied homes near the area and stealing firearms, authorities said.
The suspect last Tuesday held the two 20-year-olds and a 19-year-old from Bakersfield captive with a shotgun and threatened to kill them throughout the terrifying near two-hour ordeal, they told police.
He was inside the cabin, owned by one of the victims, when the trio arrived about 7 p.m.
He confronted them, asking why they were inside his property before whipping out a shotgun and forcing them inside.
The three victims were unharmed and able to escape on foot after the armed man left the cabin.
The suspect later stole their car, which was found Wednesday ditched about two miles northwest of the cabin.
Several firearms stolen from the men and the cabin also were found but not the shotgun.
Days later, the 64-year-old David Louis Markiewitz was found shot to death in a nearby residence.
On Saturday, SWAT deputies who were part of the search were confronted by a man with a high-caliber handgun as they were entering a mobile home.
Deputy Michael Booker was shot twice, once in each arm, and was hospitalized in stable condition, Pruitt said. Senior Deputy Jose Perez was treated for a minor wound to his right ear.
Authorities have combed the area 30 miles from Bakersfield to no avail. Two elementary schools and a middle school have been closed indefinitely as the hunt continues and residents were advised to stay indoors.
The blue-eyed suspect has long brown hair and weighs about 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing an olive colored T-shirt, olive colored pants, a brown corduroy hat and a green bandanna.
With News Wire Services