2 suspects dead, 2 officers wounded in shootout

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Two officers were wounded and two men are dead following a police shootout early Monday.

Officers tried to make a vehicle stop around 12:30 a.m. in the parking lot at Four Points Sheraton on California Avenue. Police didn't say how quickly the officers got the men pulled over.

A shootout erupted between the officers and the men in the "suspect vehicle," according to police.

Bullets from that shootout apparently ended up in the wall of at least one nearby apartment. Eyewitness News spotted circles drawn around several holes and saw police technicians taking measurements there.

A woman in that apartment didn't want to make any comment about the incident.

At an apartment a bit farther back from the hotel parking lot, Robert Ozuna said he heard the gun battle.

"A lot of shots, people yelling, and that was pretty much it," Ozuna described. He said he thinks the shooting lasted two or three minutes.

The men in the suspect vehicle died in the exchange of gunfire. The Kern County coroner's office later identified them as 32-year-old Justin Bryan Harger and 34-year-old Jorge Ramirez.

Harger, a shooting suspect with the nickname of "Joker," was featured in this weekend's segment of Kern's Most Wanted with the U.S. Marshals office. Harger has been arrested numerous times with his first prison stint at age 18, according to Kern County court records.

Ramirez has a lengthy criminal record, including arrests for spousal abuse, drug possession and transporting drugs for sales.

One officer was shot in the head, but police called that a "moderate" wound.

Another officer sustained a minor injury unrelated to the gunfire.

As of the afternoon Monday, police weren't releasing any update on the officers' condition.

Police said they have no surveillance video of the shooting.

Eyewitness News spotted some evidence markers in a hotel walkway off the parking lot and saw police officers and technicians taking pictures and measurements of a black car in the lot.

Neighbors in the nearby apartment complex said officers came through at about 2 a.m., asking if people were OK and apparently looking for evidence like bullet holes.

Ozuna said his dog first alerted him to the incident.

"She barked at first, she heard something," he said. Seconds after he let the dog out in the front, he heard the shots going off. Both he and the dog immediately reacted.

"I was getting back to my office where I was watching television and reading, and they just cut loose, and she was desperately trying to get back inside," he said.

Ozuna figured the shooting was 100 to 150 feet away, on the other side of a wall in the hotel parking lot. He ducked down after the shots were fired, checking to see if anyone came by. The other apartments were closer.

"If I'd been in one of those apartments over there, I think I'd have been down lower," Ozuna said.