California cinema shooting victim was star of TikTok

1 August 2021, 19:04

Corona cinema shooting
The cinema in Corona, near Los Angeles, where the shootings took place (Terry Pierson/The Orange County Register via AP). Picture: PA

One of the young men shot dead in a cinema in Corona near Los Angeles was a TikTok influencer with almost a million followers, it has been revealed.

A young TikTok star who had been on life support after he and a friend were shot inside a southern California movie theatre has died, police and his family said on Saturday.

Anthony Barajas, 19, was watching The Forever Purge at a cinema in Corona with Rylee Goodrich, 18, on Monday when they were each shot in the head. They were found by an employee after the last showing of the night.

Goodrich died at the scene. Barajas was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was placed on life support.

Barajas, known online as itsanthonymichael, had nearly a million followers on TikTok and more on other platforms.

The suspect acted alone, and there is no indication that he knew the victims or that Barajas’ role as a TikTok influencer played a role in the crime, Corona police spokesman Tobias Kouroubacalis told reporters last week.

“It was completely unprovoked, and the victims were shot without any kind of prior contact,” Kouroubacalis said during a news conference on Wednesday.

Alleged cinema shooter Joseph Jimenez
Joseph Jimenez, left, is accused of shooting two men in an unprovoked attack in a cinema in California (Will Lester/The Orange County Register via AP)

Police were working with Riverside County prosecutors to add a second murder count against the suspected shooter, Joseph Jimenez.

Jimenez, 20, appeared in Riverside County Superior Court on Friday after being charged with murder in the death of Goodrich and attempted murder of Barajas. But he did not enter a plea, and his arraignment was postponed.

Prosecutors also had charged Jimenez with a special circumstance of lying in wait that makes him eligible for the death penalty if convicted as charged.

Jimenez has been jailed since his arrest. It is not clear whether he has retained an attorney who can speak for him.

Barajas had been a high school honour student, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.

“From his quick smile to his compassionate heart, Anthony’s presence was a gift to all who knew him,” his family said in a statement.

By Press Association