A California father, accused of murdering his pregnant partner and kidnapping their 2-year-old son, was killed after exchanging gunfire with authorities early Monday morning.
Javier Vidal, 36, was pronounced dead following a shootout with sheriff's deputies in the early morning hours of April 13. The standoff lasted about four hours, according to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.
Hours earlier, law enforcement responded to a residential address in Lamont, California after reports of a shooting. Audreyanna Diana Rivera, 34, was found suffering from a gunshot wound at the address and was transported to hospital where she was later pronounced dead. She was seven months pregnant, law enforcement said. The child managed to survive and is hospitalized.
However, in the aftermath of the shooting, the couple’s 2-year-old son, Elias Vidal, was missing. California Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert for the toddler, who they alleged was abducted by the father. The child was safely located by investigators at an unspecified location shortly after 11 p.m. on Tuesday. It’s unclear what led law enforcement to the child.
Javier Vidal — who authorities said was armed, dangerous, and driving a gray 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse — was spotted at 11:35 p.m. on a nearby highway. The 36-year allegedly opened fire on Kern County Sheriff’s deputies after he was confronted. Over the course of a lengthy standoff, a SWAT Team intervened, and gunfire was exchanged. Vidal was pronounced dead at around 4 a.m. Authorities were unharmed in the shootout.
“We are still investigating,” Angela Monroe, a public information officer for the Kern County Sheriff’s Office told Oxygen.com. “We are still doing interviews and this is still an active investigation.”
Law enforcement later confirmed Rivera's slaying was related to a domestic incident.
“I never ever thought he would do this,” a family member told Bakersfield television station KERO-TV. “I never think he’d pull a gun and leave her like that. … it really shocked me to see her like that at all because she’s the mother of his kids.”
“These next 24 hours are going to be critical so we’re asking everybody [for] prayers or send good vibes, energy, whatever it is that you do,” another family member told the outlet. “We just ask that you please do that for the baby … [and] all of her children.”
Investigators declined to comment further on the case on Wednesday.
Vidal has an extensive criminal history, which stretches back to 2001, according to additional court records obtained by Oxygen.com. He was arrested on first-degree and attempted murder charges in 2012, however the case appears to have been dismissed. The 36-year-old also was found guilty on a number of gun charges in 2017. In January, he was charged with violating his post-release supervision conditions. He also has past arrests on drug charges, drunk driving, resisting arrest, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Authorities are urging anyone with information related to the shootings to call the Kern County Sheriff’s Office at 661-861-3110.
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