A Reedley, California man is accused of fatally shooting his grandmother and his father’s girlfriend as they opened presents on Christmas Day, authorities said.
According to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Austin Alvarez, 23, of Reedley, was arrested and booked into the Fresno County Jail on suspicion of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. According to the press announcement, bail was set at $2.5 million.
Alvarez is accused of fatally shooting his grandmother, Magdalena Alvarez, 58; and his father’s girlfriend, Meisa Rashid, 39.
According to a news statement from the sheriff’s office, deputies arrived to a home in Reedley on Saturday and discovered Magdalena Alvarez and Rashid suffering from gunshot wounds. Deputies claimed Austin Alvarez had fled the scene.
Deputies believe the incident began when Austin Alvarez arrived at the residence, where some family members had gathered for a party to open gifts, KMPH-TV reported.
“During the visit, Alvarez fired shots striking his grandmother and his father’s girlfriend,” the sheriff’s news release stated. “As Alvarez was leaving the house, he noticed his father in a parked vehicle. Alvarez fired shots in his direction, but did not strike him.”
Austin Alvarez was caught about 10 miles from the residence after a combined search effort from sheriff’s deputies, the California Highway Patrol and police departments from Reedley, Sanger, Orange Cove and Kingsburg, The Bee reported.
A motive for the shootings has not been established, the sheriff’s office said. An investigation is ongoing.