Detective: Suspect’s friends believed he had gun in theater

This booking photo released by the Corona, Calif., Police Department shows 20-year-old Joseph Jimenez, who was arrested Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in connection with a shooting that killed an 18-year-old woman and seriously wounded a 19-year-old social media influencer as they watched “The Forever Purge” at a Southern California movie theater. He is being held on $2 million bail. (Corona Police Department via AP)

CORONA, Calif. (AP) — A man charged with fatally shooting two young people inside a Southern California movie theater last week was accompanied by three friends who told investigators they were alarmed because they believed he had brought a gun into the cinema, a newspaper reported.

Police records obtained by the Orange County Register and reported in a story Monday show the suspect’s friends told detectives he was acting so strangely that they snuck out of the theater, apparently without warning anyone.

Two of the friends told investigators they later saw defendant Joseph Jimenez run out of the Regal Edwards cinema in the city of Corona and speed away in his car, according to a police detective’s sworn declaration filed in court.

A short time later on the night of July 26, a theater employee found Rylee Goodrich, 18, and Anthony Barajas, 19, with gunshot wounds to their heads. Goodrich died at the scene. Barajas, a budding social media star, died at a hospital on Saturday.

Barajas, known online as itsanthonymichael, had nearly 1 million followers on TikTok and more on other platforms.

The detective’s declaration, written to obtain a search warrant for Jimenez’s home and other property, for the first time describes how police connected Jimenez with the fatal shootings, the newspaper reported.

Jimenez has been jailed since his arrest. A phone message left Tuesday seeking comment on the case from Charles Kenyon, a lawyer for Jimenez, was not immediately returned

Jimenez has been charged with murder and attempted murder, but the second count is expected to be upgraded to murder by the time Jimenez appears in court Thursday for his arraignment, said John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

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

The Register reported that it was unclear whether the inaction by the three friends amounts to a crime. Their names were not listed in county jail records on Tuesday.

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