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Monday, Oct 22 2012 03:02 PM

Latest Tehachapi shooting victim remembered

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Shooting victim James Earl Motts, 54, with his daughter Holly. Photo courtesy of Motts family

Family and neighbors described James Earl Motts, the 54-year-old Tehachapi man who was shot to death outside his home in the 49500 block of Michael Avenue last Thursday, as a social butterfly who loved to work on cars and his dog Charlie.

"I don't know who would want to hurt him," said Motts' widow Sarah. "He was good man who dreamt about cars and loved working them. He also loved taking things apart and finding out how they worked."

Motts says she arrived home from work around 9 p.m. on Oct. 18 to find her husband lying in the driveway of the couple's Ashe Village home with a gunshot wound to the head.

Tehachapi Police Chief Jeff Kermode said officers arrived at the scene at 9:12 p.m. and found Motts had been shot and was unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The fatality was the second in a string of five separate shooting incidents that have taken place over the past month, including the murder of Larry Dale Reagan of Old West Ranch on Sept. 28.

In response, police issued a news release on Monday indicating that all of the incidents are believed to be gang related and that they have identified persons of interest, as well executing a search warrant in the 900 block of Valerie Lane on Friday, Oct. 18.

Despite the latest tragedy, Motts' widow says she is not afraid, and along with 24-year old daughter Holly, is intent on staying in the home the couple purchased when they relocated Tehachapi in 2000 to be close to her husband's mother and stepfather.

Since then Motts had established himself as a likeable guy, befriending everyone he came in contact with, including neighbor Andrew Chatos who lives just a few houses from where his friend was gunned down.

"I was always going over to go see Jim and bend his ear about electronics and just about anything else," Chatos said. "I am going to miss him. I can't imagine -- he was a good, decent guy."

Also in disbelief is Motts' daughter who says she will miss the way that her father expressed his love to her through humor.

"He loved to help people," she said. "The thing I am probably going to miss most of him -- is all the joking around we used to do."

An autopsy was tentatively scheduled for Monday, as Tehachapi Police continue to investigate possible leads and a motive.

Additional information will be published at www.TehachapiNews.online as it is available.

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