UPDATE: Joseph Jimenez was arrested in connection to the brutal shooting in a South California movie theater. The 20-year-old man is facing murder charges after police say he shot Anthony Barajas and Rylee Goodrich during a showing of The Forever Purge. Jimenez was arrested at his home late night Tuesday. During the arrest, police found a gun matching the caliber of the bullets found in the movie theater.
Anthony Barajas and his friend Rylee Goodrich were shot during a showing of The Forever Purge in a South California movie theater. Goodrich was killed after sustaining a bullet wound to the back of the head while the 19-year-old TikTok star was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The pair had a substantial social media following and were good friends. Authorities confirmed they went to the showing together.
Authorities are still trying to understand what happened at the movie theater in Corona, Calif. According to reports, a cinema employee found both 18-year-old Rylee Goodrich and Anthony Barajas in the theater at around 9:35 p.m. after the showing on Monday. The employee was cleaning up when they found the bodies and immediately called emergency services.
Officers pronounced Goodrich dead at the scene and Barajas was taken to a local hospital where he is still fighting for his life. The young TikTok star is on life support and there has been no update on his condition as of Wednesday afternoon.
The incident occurred at The Crossing mall in Corona, southeast of Los Angeles, according to Officer Tobias Kouroubacalis. “At some point, the employee or employees walk inside the theater to conduct their clean-up or walk through and that’s when the 911 call was placed,” Kouroubacalis told CBS News. “[They said] that there was an unknown problem, somebody was bleeding, there wasn’t very specific information given.”
Authorities are currently investigating the theater. It was reported that while evidence was recovered from the scene, no gun was found. Police are attempting to track down the other theater-goers to get a better picture of what happened during the showing. Police confirmed that only six people bought tickets to that particular showing of The Forever Purge including Anthony Barajas and Rylee Goodrich.
Police have not identified a possible shooter or shooters. Authorities believe the nature of the horror film made it exceptionally difficult to tell that gunshots were going off inside the theater. Police say it’s possible that at least some of the moviegoers had no idea the shooting occurred.
Kailyn Dillon, an employee for the movie theater, said “during the actual movie time, no one apparently heard the gunshot.” Dillon was not working at the time but said they spoke to employees who were on shift during the incident. “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 [the gun] was in a holster on their belt.”
Officer Kouroubacalis said that police have no identified a suspect at this time, however, he did say that “we have no information to lead us to believe there is an active threat to our community or any surrounding community right now.” He requested that anyone with information regarding the shooting come forward.
“We’re asking for anyone who might have been inside that movie, or a theater adjacent to that, for any information at all, whether they saw something or heard something, or anybody out in the parking lot in that time frame who may have seen something or heard something, please call us,” Kouroubacalis said during a news release.
The two victims of the South California theater shooting were friends but weren’t dating, according to their friends and families. Rylee Goodrich was a cheerleader who just earned a scholarship to Grand Canyon University for its STEAM program.
Anthony Barajas is a famous TikTok star who has almost 1 million follows. He often posts content with his family. His most recent post, which was filmed five days ago, shows him and his family on vacation. The top comment on that post is from TikTok star @colewherld, who claims “Anthony is alive and currently on life support, please keep him and his family in your prayers.”
Police suspect that the content of The Forever Purge could have been a factor in the shooting. The story follows a group of Mexican migrants who are targeted by vigilantes during an annual “purge.” During a “purge,” all crime is legal for 12 hours. The film is riddled with loud gunshots and other sound effects that could have made it difficult for viewers to identify a shooting was taking place.
Officer Tobias Kouroubacalis said that while it isn’t confirmed, investigators are looking into whether the content of the film was a motivating factor in the killings. Authorities still don’t know if Rylee Goodrich and Anthony Barajas were targeted or if the shooting was just a random attack.
Friends of the victims have created GoFundMe pages to help raise money for their families. Ashley-Starr Cole and Justice Burgess created a GoFundMe page for Goodrich to “help Rylee’s family pay for all of her funeral expenses in this time of mourning.” So far the page has raised over $17,000.
Julia Barajas created a GoFundMe page for Anthony Barajas, which has raised over $17,000 as well. The post attached to the page claims the Barajas “was the light of so many people’s lives and there are tough times ahead, but we have amazing family and friends to get through this.”