Police: California man killed grandmother, father’s girlfriend as they opened presents

A California man is accused of fatally shooting his grandmother and his father’s girlfriend as they opened presents on Christmas Day, authorities said.

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Austin Alvarez, 23, of Reedley, was booked into the Fresno County Jail on suspicion of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Bail was set at $2.5 million, according to the release.

Alvarez is accused of fatally shooting his grandmother, Magdalena Alvarez, 58; and his father’s girlfriend, Meisa Rashid, 39, The Fresno Bee reported.

According to the sheriff’s office news release, on Saturday deputies responded to a home in Reedley and found Magdalena Alvarez and Rashid suffering from gunshot wounds. Austin Alvarez had fled the scene, deputies said.

Deputies believe the incident began when Austin Alvarez arrived at the residence, where some family members had gathered for a party to open gifts, KMPH-TV reported.

“During the visit, Alvarez fired shots striking his grandmother and his father’s girlfriend,” the sheriff’s news release stated. “As Alvarez was leaving the house, he noticed his father in a parked vehicle. Alvarez fired shots in his direction, but did not strike him.”

Austin Alvarez was caught about 10 miles from the residence after a combined search effort from sheriff’s deputies, the California Highway Patrol and police departments from Reedley, Sanger, Orange Cove and Kingsburg, The Bee reported.

A motive for the shootings has not been established, the sheriff’s office said. An investigation is ongoing.

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