Authorities charged a Southern California man with fatally shooting two people inside a movie theater who blamed voices in his head that he claimed he had been hearing for months, reports revealed on Wednesday.
In an interview on Wednesday, the suspect, 20-year-old Joseph Jimenez, said the voices inside his head were telling him that his friends and family were going to be killed. He told officers about his situation at a Riverside County jail in Banning where he was being kept.
'Voices in my Head'
However, despite arguing his case, he was not able to explain how killing other people helped him keep his friends and family alive amid the voices. The suspect also gave a blow-by-blow description of the shooting he committed and offered his condolences to the families of the victims, saying he wished he didn't do it.
Police authorities identified the two victims as 18-year-old Rylee Goodrich and 19-year-old Anthony Barajas who were watching a movie at a nearly empty Corona, California theater on July 26. The suspect shot the two teenagers in the head and they were later found by an employee after the last showing of the night, Fox News reported.
Officials said Goodrich was pronounced dead at the scene while Barajas was immediately taken to a nearby hospital to be treated. The 19-year-old was placed on life support but pronounced dead last week. Barajas was also a TikToker with nearly a million followers on the social media platform and was known by his handle @itsanthonymichael.
Police said they believed Jimenez acted alone as a gunman and showed no signs that he personally knew his victims. They also said that they believe Barajas' status as a TikToker played a role in the crime.
Jimenez said he was hearing voices that haunted him for eight long months and threatened to steal his car and television. Medical professionals diagnosed the suspect with schizophrenia nearly eight months ago but he recently stopped taking his prescribed medication, saying he ran out and did not get it refilled, ABC7 reported.
The 20-year-old suspect went into the theater with three of his friends, who later snuck out of the cinema, telling police they were concerned Jimenez brought a gun and was acting strange. However, the Orange County Register said on Monday that the suspect's friends did not warn anyone in the area.
Jimenez told authorities that the voices he heard inside his head became so overwhelming on the night of the shooting that he was unable to focus on the movie he was watching, "The Forever Purge." However, he said that the theme of the movie, which was a violent thriller, did not influence his actions that night or cause him to start shooting the victims.
The suspect went out of the theater for a moment to grab a gun, which he said he bought from online selling platform OfferUp, from his car into the cinema which he used to shoot the two teenagers and was arrested the following day by officers, The Press Enterprise reported. GoFundMe pages have been created and dedicated to raising money for the families of the victims.