TikTok star Anthony Barajas dies from wounds after California movie theater shooting
- Joseph Jimenez, 20, was being held on $2 million bail.
- Barajas has almost 1 million followers on TikTok.
Police in California on Sunday were trying to determine the motive behind a "random and unprovoked attack" at a movie theater that left two people dead, including teen TikTok star Anthony Barajas.
Barajas died Saturday from wounds suffered in the shooting July 26 at the Regal Edwards Theatre in Corona, a Riverside County city of 160,000 people 50 miles east of Los Angeles.
Joseph Jimenez, 20, was being held on $2 million bail on murder and other charges, including a special circumstance of lying in wait that makes him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
Police said Rylee Goodrich, 18, and Barajas, 19, both of Corona, had watched the film "The Forever Purge." The film is the fifth installment in a franchise of horror movies in which murder and other violent crimes are legal for one day every year.
After the movie ended, theater employees cleaning the auditorium made the "horrific discovery that the two victims had been shot in the head," Riverside County prosecutor Mike Hestrin said in a statement.
Goodrich was pronounced dead at the scene. Barajas, a social media influencer whose TikTok account "itsanthonymichael" had amassed almost 1 million followers, was taken to a nearby hospital, where he remained on life support until his death, Hestrin said.
No motive for the shootings was immediately determined, and there was no known connection between the victims and Jimenez, Hestrin said. Robbery charges were filed, but it was not clear whether that was the motive.
"Based on the evidence provided to our office, this appears to be a random and unprovoked attack," Hestrin said.
Barajas graduated in 2019 from Mater Dei, a private Catholic high school where he was an honor student who starred at soccer and with the chorus.
"The Mater Dei family is shocked and saddened by the senseless act of violence," Father Walter E. Jenkins, the school’s president, said in a statement.
Malik Earnest, a friend of Barajas', tweeted a thanks to everyone who "lifted Anthony in prayer."
"Anthony was wheeled down an 'honor walk' where he would ultimately donate his organs so others may live," Earnest wrote.
After the shooting, Corona police detectives determined Jimenez was a possible suspect, Hestrin said. The Riverside County Gang Impact Team was asked to help find Jimenez. Jimenez does not have any know gang affiliation, but the team often assists in finding and arresting suspects in major violent crimes, Hestrin said.
Jimenez was arrested the next day. While serving the search warrant, detectives found and seized a handgun of the same caliber as the weapon believed used in the murder, Hestrin said.
The county Division of Victim Services was helping Rylee’s family with funeral expenses through the California Victim Compensation Board. Family members set up a GoFundMe account that had raised more than $60,000 as of Sunday.
"Words seem inadequate to express the sorrow felt by the loss of Rylee," cousin Ashley-Starr Cole said. "Her kindness and gentle spirit will be remembered forever. "