I hadn’t heard about the movie theater shootings in Corona, California until this morning.
Two weeks ago, 18-year-olds Anthony Barajas and Rylee Goodrich were watching the latest installment of the Purge movies when they were both shot from behind at point-blank range. Sadly, neither victim survived their injuries.
The next day, police arrested 20-year-old Joseph Jimenez for the double-murder. Jimenez had been sitting with friends also watching the movie when he went to his car, got a gun, returned to the theater and shot Barajas and Goodrich. Jimenez’s friends were said to have no idea that Jimenez had planned anything like this, and they fled from the scene immediately. It’s believed that there is no connection between the gunman and his victims. The gunman told police that he had purchased the gun on the classifieds app OfferUp. More on that later.
Jimenez claims he has schizophrenia and hears voices. He reportedly told police that the night of the shooting during the movie, the voices told him that his friends and family were going to be killed. This is supposedly what led to the shooting. He had only been diagnosed 8 months prior to the shooting and chose not to get his meds refilled once the initial prescription ran out.
I’m a little hesitant to believe the voices told him to kill story. I’m always a little suspect when it’s used as a criminal defense. It’s just too convenient. I’m not saying there aren’t people who suffer from schizophrenia and hear voices, I Just think that it’s become such a trope in crime and horror fiction that too many people use it as an excuse to kill. I mean, if the voices were so bad while he was watching the movie, why go out to the car then come back to shoot two people he didn’t even know? Why stop taking the medication if it was working? Then again, outside of a thrill kill, there’s no other apparent motive.
However, what I really want to talk about is the fact that Jimenez bought the gun through OfferUp. It’s against the terms of service to sell guns on OfferUp. I would also guarantee that whoever sold the gun to Jimenez probably didn’t do any kind of background check. I know it’s secondary to the fact that two innocent people were killed in cold blood, but I hope that police are tracking down who sold the gun to Jimenez. As far as I’m concerned, the gun seller is almost as equally culpable for the deaths of two people who had entire lifetimes stolen from them.
While we’re on the subject of OfferUp, why was this ad not flagged or pulled? Do they practice the craigslist school of ad moderation, as in none at all? Will anyone in the media actually ask OfferUp how they allowed this sale to take place? And if they do, how will OfferUp spin it? My guess is, they’ll claim they rely on community policing which is just letting the inmates run the asylum, much like craigslist did back in the era of ‘Craigslist Killers’.