Shooter Sentenced to 50 Years to Life for East Bakersfield Killing

A man convicted of shooting another man to death at a Baker Street gas station in Feb. 2023 was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison on Thursday.

The Kern County Superior Court website indicates Rafael Lopez Lopez, 38, was found guilty last month of murdering Rafael Rojas Gonzales, 41, in connection to the fatal shooting at a gas station on Baker Street.

Authorities say on Feb. 4, 2023, at around 1:30 a.m., Bakersfield Police officers responded to the Kwik Serve in the 600 block of Baker Street where they found Rafael Gonzales suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Prosecutors with the Kern County District Attorney’s office say Gonzales, his brother, and his girlfriend were watching cars for a job at the Kwik Serve gas station on Baker Street and 19th Street. Gonzales was sitting at the front of the Kwik Serve when Lopez walked into the parking lot, armed with a short-barrel, fully automatic AR-15 style rifle, and fired 13 rounds at Gonzales.

Gonzales was shot eight times and died at the scene.

The DA said that Gonzales’ brother told Bakersfield Police that a few months before while watching parked cars, Gonzales had gotten into an argument with a person whose vehicle had suffered minor damage in the lot. BPD traced the vehicle to Lopez’s home. Through a search warrant,  found the suspected gun, cell phones, clothing, and ammunition that were matched to the crime scene.

Co-defendant Giovanny Noe Garcia who was involved in the deadly shooting, is due in court for sentencing on April 3, according to court records. He pleaded no contest on Feb. 7.