A teen social media influencer was on life support Wednesday, and his friend was dead, after suffering gunshot wounds during the screening of a horror film at a theater in a mall southeast of Los Angeles earlier this week.
The Corona Police Department said that 19-year-old Anthony Barajas had attended a Monday night showing of The Forever Purge, with Rylee Goodrich, 18. Hours later, the bloodied pair were discovered by theater workers, who hadn’t heard any gunshots.
According to police, theater employees called 911 when they made the gory discovery while cleaning up after the 9:35 p.m. film screening. Goodrich was declared dead at the scene, and Barajas, a TikTok star who uses the name itsanthonymichael and has almost 1 million followers, was left with life-threatening injuries.
On Wednesday, Corona police announced they’d made a breakthrough in the case with the arrest of 20-year-old Joseph Jimenez on murder, attempted murder, and robbery charges. During a search of his Corona home, cops allegedly found a firearm that matched the one used in the theater shooting and “additional evidence related to the crime scene,” a statement said.
“Based on statements obtained, there is no known motive and it appears to be an unprovoked attack,” the statement said.
Cops were initially stumped by the brutal killing. Barajas and Goodrich had attended the movie together, although it wasn’t immediately clear who else was in the theater with them.
“I’m being told right now there were six tickets purchased for that movie showing,” Corona police corporal Tobias Kouroubacalis told KABC-TV on Tuesday.
Detectives said that they had uncovered some evidence during a search of the theater, but didn’t find a gun. Witnesses and surveillance video also turned up no evidence that someone shot the moviegoers and fled, the Press-Enterprise reported Tuesday.
Kailyn Dillon, a theater employee, who was not on shift at the time of the shooting, said that no one noticed the sound of gunfire while the blockbuster horror movie played that night.
“During the actual movie time, no one apparently heard the gunshot,” Dillon told KCBS-TV Tuesday. “I know that we do have security bag checks that we do on the daily and, unfortunately, I'm not sure if it just was missed or if it was in a holster on their belt.”
Goodrich’s cousin, Ashley Cole, told the outlet that it was shocking to return from work and learn that her cousin had been shot in the back of the head.
Mourning Goodrich’s death, Cole on Tuesday set up a GoFundMe page to help the family cover funeral expenses.
“It’s a mystery that I hope people can come forth and talk about and report, so that we can get to the bottom of it,” Cole told KABC-TV. “There needs to be justice.”
Hundreds of messages hoping for Barajas’ recovery continued to flood his Instagram account, itsanthonymichael, on Wednesday. The Corona Police Department said his condition remained unchanged on Wednesday.
Jimenez was booked into the Riverside Presley Detention Center on Tuesday night and was being held on a $2 million bail.