A TikTok star, Anthony Barajas, 19, has tragically passed away after being shot while out on a first date with marketing major, Rylee Goodrich, aged 18. According to a local news report, the teenagers were watching The Purge Forever in a Californian cinema on 26 July when they were targeted in a random and unprovoked attack.
Barajas, who often sang in his TikTok videos and had a following of one million on the app, is said to have met Goodrich at a party a few weeks prior. Her father, David Goodrich, told the Daily Mail, "She met this guy over summer, I think at a party on the third or fourth of July. My first inkling, he was this TikTok influencer, and I rolled my eyes like 'Are you kidding me? Really, that's your future?' But her mom was very much [like] give the guy a chance."
He added, "I could tell she really, really liked this boy. And he really, really liked her. She was so happy. They were so excited for their first date. She curled her hair all pretty. It was their first date that wasn't a group of people."
Very sadly, Goodrich succumbed to her injuries at the scene, whereas Barajas was taken to Riverside Community Hospital and placed on a life support machine, but died days later, on 31 July.
The pair, who had caught the latest showing of the film, were found by cinema staff who later entered the theatre to commence cleaning once the movie had ended. The staffers then raised the alarm and called the emergency services. Nobody heard gunshots at the time of the shooting.
A suspect, Joseph Jimenez, has since been apprehended by the City of Corona Police Department. A statement on 30 July said that he has been charged for one count of murder with a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a firearm causing death, one count of attempted murder and a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a firearm causing great bodily injury.
It added, "Our office has also filed a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait." A later update statement from the Corona Police Department also said they were working hard to have another count of murder charge added following Barajas' passing.
A statement from Barajas' family said of his death: "With deep faith and the love of family and friends surrounding us, we are mourning the heart-wrenching passing of our beloved Anthony Barajas. From his quick smile to his compassionate heart, Anthony's presence was a gift to all who knew him.
"Please provide our family with the grace of space and privacy as we search for ways to keep Anthony's sweet spirit and legacy alive." A GoFundMe page has been started in his memory, as has one for Goodrich.
A close friend of Anthony's, Malik Earnest, tweeted about how the content creator had registered as an organ donor before his death. "Like many others who were senselessly killed, Anthony was so loving. He was patient and welcoming, and he loved to sing. He would want the world to know who he was and the legacy he leaves behind."
Earnest added, "The injuries to his brain were irreparable. July 30th at 11 p.m., Anthony was wheeled down an 'honor walk' where he would ultimately donate his organs so others may live. Please continue to pray for his family and friends."
Those who may have additional information about the shooting are being asked to call the Corona Police Department Anonymous TIP Line at 951-817-5837 or contact Senior Detective Slaven Neagu at 951-739-4916 or email Slaven.Neagu@CoronaCA.gov.
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