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Friday, Oct 19 2012 07:08 AM

Police have identified 'persons of interest' in Tehachapi shootings

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There was little activity around this home on Michael Avenue where a man was shot to death on Thursday evening. Tehachapi Police were assisted by the Kern County Sheriff's Office in processing the crime scene. Photo by Ed Gordon

The Tehachapi Police Department, working in collaboration with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Section, has developed information regarding "persons of Interest" in several recent shooting incidents that have occurred in the Tehachapi area, according to Police Chief Jeff Kermode.

The most recent incident is the shootin death of a 54-year-old Tehachapi man at his residence in the 49500 block of Michael Avenue on Thursday evening.

Kermode said the persons of interest are not being identified at this time, as the investigation is on-going.

Anyone having information on this incident is asked to contact the Tehachapi Police Department (661) 822-2222 or contact the Secret Witness Hotline at (661) 322-4040. Anonymous "text" tips can also be sent to TIP411 (847411). Just type the key word "KCSO" prior to the message.

In a news release issued at 5:48 a.m. today, Police Chief Jeff Kermode identified the victim of the latest shooting as James Earl Motts.

Kermode said the department received a report at 9:09 p.m. Thursday that someone had been found injured and bleeding at the residence located in Ashe Village.

Officers arrived at the scene at 9:12 p.m., he said, and found Motts had been shot and was unresponsive. Hall Ambulance and Kern County Fire personnel responded to the incident, however the victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The death is being investigated as a homicide and the Tehachapi PD and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office are working together on the investigation. An autopsy has been tentatively scheduled for Monday by the Kern County Coroner’s Office.

In a release issued just before noon Friday, the chief said it has not been determined if the incident is related to any of the previous shooting incidents in the city.

Whether the latest homicide is related to the murder of Larry Dale Reagan of Tehachapi on Old West Ranch on Sept. 28 remains to be seen. Last week the chief issued a news release indicating that police believed three other shooting incidents were related to the shooting of Reagan and said that Tehachapi PD and the Kern County Sheriff's Office were working together in those investigations.

This story was updated from earlier versions published today as additional information has been released. Further information will be reported as it becomes available.

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