Ridgecrest 911 call: 'My girlfriend's going to die'
RIDGECREST, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) A victim and a neighbor both put out frantic calls the morning a gunman started a rampage in the desert community of Ridgecrest.
The 911 calls released Thursday by that police department include one man who was shot pleading for officers to arrive and save his dying girlfriend, and pleading with officers to protect his sister.
Eyewitness News obtained copies of two calls; they came in at almost the same time the morning of Oct. 25. One call is from Thaddeus Meier, apparently seconds after he'd been shot. That happened at about 5:30 a.m.
"Help me, there's somebody shooting me," Meier quickly told the 911 operator in a strained voice.
"Who's shooting you," the operator asked.
"Sergio Munoz," the caller responded.
Police said 39-year-old Sergio Munoz had been staying with Meier in an apartment on West Atkins Avenue. Ridgecrest police told Eyewitness News that a woman picked up Munoz there at about 4 a.m. Oct. 25 and took him to his house on Beth Lane. Sgt. Jed McLaughlin said the woman and another man were then somehow forced "at gunpoint" into the trunk of Munoz's car.
When he returned to the apartment on Atkins, Munoz shot both Meier and 22-year-old Brittany Matheny, according to police.
Meier's call to 911 lasted about five minutes. The operator got his name, and he gave a partial address.
"We're coming, OK?" the operator said to Meier. "Stay on the line. Are you injured at all?"
He responded that he'd been shot in the arm.
In the background, an operator can be heard asking for more help. At nearly the same time, another 911 call came in, apparently from Meier's sister who was in a nearby apartment.
"There were three gun shots," the sister told the operator, and she gave an exact address. "People got shot."
Meanwhile, Munoz had driven off and was eventually spotted in Ridgecrest, and was then chased down Highway 395 by police, Kern County deputies and California Highway Patrol officers. At one point, Munoz stopped and the car's trunk opened, and officers realized there were two people inside.
The trunk was closed by either the man or the woman, and Munoz took off driving again. During the chase, he drove into oncoming traffic and shot at other vehicles on the highway. He later stopped again about 8 miles north of Highway 58 and started to shoot into the trunk of the car. The two people managed to get out, and Munoz was shot and killed by officers.
When all this started, the man shot at the apartment had waited on the phone, asking how soon help would get there.
"Hello, officer are you there?" Meier can be heard asking on the 911 recording. Less than a minute later, he spoke again. "My girlfriend's going to die, please get here now."
The operator assured Meier officers were on the scene.
Meanwhile, Meier's sister was also pleading with a 911 operator.
"I'm next door, my brother's over there," she said. "I have three kids."
The operator asked if she would look out the window to report what was going on, and the sister said she was too afraid to do that.
On his line, the brother worried about her.
"They're going to kill my sister," he told the operator.
The sister asked the operator on her line to send an ambulance. But, her brother next told another operator that it was too late. That operator joined his call, and asked for a description of where Munoz was, and he gave some directions on how to reach the apartment.
"What's going on, talk to me," the female operator said.
"My girlfriend's dead," Meier responded.
"Your girlfriend is dead?" she asked.
Thirty seconds later, Meier again asked for help.
"Can you see police officers?" the operator asked.
"Yes," he replied.
Eyewitness News learned Meier was treated at a hospital in Southern California, and then released.
Matthew Guidangen of Ridgecrest has been identified as the man in the trunk. He and the woman were shot "numerous" times, according to the Kern County Sheriff's Office. Guidangen was treated at Antelope Valley Hospital, and a spokeswoman told Eyewitness News he was released on Nov. 1.
The woman with him was Amanda Garcia, 23, and she was still in fair condition at AVH. The sheriff's department said the relationship between this pair and Munoz was still under investigation.
On Thursday, a sheriff's spokesman said their investigation of the case was in the "finishing up" stage.