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Three friends of a man accused of killing a young man and woman at a California movie theater last week have claimed his behavior led them to sneak out of the building ahead of the shooting, detectives said.
On July 26, Joseph Jimenez allegedly shot 18-year-old Rylee Goodrich and 19-year-old Tik Tok star Anthony Barajas, as previously reported. Goodrich was found dead at the scene after the film's credits rolled, while Barajas was placed on life support at a local hospital but died five days later, according to the City of Corona Police Department.
Goodrich and Barajas were on a date at the Crossings at Corona shopping center, according to The Orange County Register. They purchased tickets to see “The Forever Purge,” the fifth film of “The Purge” franchise, which focuses on a dystopian setting where crime becomes legal for one night out of the year.
After the film, Regal Edwards cinema employees cleaning the theater discovered that Goodrich and Barajas had been shot.
Through ticket purchases, detectives tracked down three individuals who were with Jimenez shortly before the shooting, according to police records cited by the Register. The friends told investigators they feared Jimenez was armed.
Only six tickets were purchased for the 9:35 p.m. showing — including those bought by Jimenez and the two victims.
There is no indication that Jimenez knew the victims.
“It’s an unfortunate turn of events here,” Corona Police Department Capt. Paul Mercado told CNN. “The public here are really looking for a motive. Right now, there is no motive. It’s an unprovoked attack.”
Jimenez allegedly left during the middle of the film and returned with a bag, claiming he had a "strap," which was believed by his friends to be a handgun, according to a detective’s sworn declaration obtained by the Register.
“Witnesses said Joseph was mumbling and talking to himself, which made them uncomfortable,” he said.
The friends told authorities that they excused themselves to use the restroom and did not return to the theater.
“[At] about 1:28 p.m., two of the witnesses saw Joseph run outside the theater and run to his vehicle. He then sped away in his vehicle at a high rate of speed,” the declaration reads.
The next day, the friends learned of the murder on the news. They told detectives that they believe their friend committed the murders.
As previously reported, an anonymous tip led to a raid on Jimenez’s home last week.
Prior to his arrest, Jimenez called Riverside Sheriff’s Department to say he believed that someone was following him. This turned out to be law enforcement officials there to search Jimenez’s home.
“The… team surrounded the listed location (where) they saw Joseph yelling a waving a handgun,” the declaration stated. “A short time later, Joseph surrendered to deputies.”
According to a press release from the Corona Police Department, a firearm and further evidence related to the crime scene were discovered in his home.
“The firearm matched the caliber of the weapon used in the murder,” police said.
Authorities initially arrested Jimenez for murder and attempted murder. Pending a court date on Thursday, charges are expected to be upgraded to two murder charges, in light of Barajas’s death.
If convicted, Jimenez faces the death penalty. He is being held on $2 million bail.
No charges have been filed against the three friends who failed to notify authorities of the suspect’s behavior.
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