LA County Offers Rewards in Antelope Valley Shootings, Says Board Must ‘Send a Message’ to Criminals

By Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
December 22, 2021 Updated: December 26, 2021

LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles County is offering a $10,000 reward for information about a man in Lancaster who shot another man while driving and hunted down the same man at a gas station to shoot him again.

The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors approved the reward in a motion during a Dec. 21 board meeting.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who oversees Lancaster and the rest of the Antelope Valley, brought forth the motion and called the shooter “deplorable” during the meeting.

In the early morning of Dec. 3, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) responded to a call about a car-to-car shooting in Lancaster.

The victim, Jason Castillo, drove to a gas station to call 911 after he was shot from another car. As Castillo waited for deputies to arrive at the gas station, the same gunman came to the station and shot Castillo again.

Responding officers found Castillo on the ground, suffering from gunshot wounds to the head and torso upon arrival. According to the motion by Barger, officers immediately performed emergency treatment on Castillo.

Castillo was subsequently transported to a local hospital and is currently in critical condition.

The shooter’s identity and motives are currently unknown. The detectives determined the suspect to be a male wearing a green shirt, black shorts, a baseball hat with a Los Angeles Dodgers logo, white socks, and black shoes, according to the motion.

“I’m offering this reward as a plea for anyone with information about this ruthless shooting to step forward,” Barger said Dec. 21. “The shocking fact that the gunman circled back to find Mr. Castillo, took aim and fired while he was already injured and helpless is deplorable.”

Barger said that Lancaster must warn criminals about the consequences of their crimes.

“As leaders of the Lancaster community, we must do all we can to send a clear message to criminals—your actions are unacceptable and justice will be served,” she said.

The same day, the board also approved a motion by Barger to reestablish a $20,000 reward for information that could lead to the arrest of any suspects in the 2016 murder of 17-year-old Palmdale resident Jacquarius “Jay” Quinn.

Quinn was found unconscious and suffering a gunshot wound in the middle of the road on Nov. 6, 2016; he was returning home after a dinner gathering with his family, according to Barger’s motion.

Witnesses found Quinn and called the authorities, and he was soon transported to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The board first offered a $10,000 reward for information about Quinn’s murder Nov. 13, 2018, and then extended it on Feb. 5, 2019; the reward amount increased on Feb. 26, 2019, to $20,000, and was extended several more times before it expired on Aug. 3, 2020.

LASD investigators are still actively working on Quinn’s case, according to Barger’s motion.

Antelope Valley cities have seen an increase in violent crimes in recent years, with Lancaster and Palmdale earning an F on Crime Grade’s 2020 violent crimes report.

The presence of drug cartels, which often leads to violent crimes, has also increased in the area in recent years.

In July, a person was killed and two others were injured at a Mariposa County cartel marijuana grow, according to the Merced Sun-Star.

In June, Los Angeles Sherriff Alex Villanueva said at a press conference that his department identified 150 illegal marijuana grows in Antelope Valley in 2020; this year, the number had grown to more than 500.

In the same month, a multi-agency law enforcement operation cleared many illegal marijuana operations in what the LASD deemed “the largest operation ever to take place in the history of LASD.”

Barger, along with Antelope Valley residents, also expressed frustration in the past at courts’ decisions to release sexually violent criminals to the area.

In recent years, the Antelope Valley area has become a go-to release spot for ex-convicts with a history of sexual violence, as reported by The Epoch Times earlier this year. According to the Megan’s Law website, there are currently 206 sex offenders in Palmdale and 415 in Lancaster.

“We’re so tired of being a ‘dumping ground’ to release ex-convicts,” Antelope Valley resident Vladimir Gomez told the Epoch Times previously.

In September, a judge ruled that sexually violent predator Calvin Grassmier would be released into a rural neighborhood in the Antelope Valley; before that, the “Pillowcase Rapist’s” release in 2014 lasted for 18 months until he violated parole guidelines.

The mayor of Lancaster, along with the LASD and Supervisor Kathryn Barger, didn’t respond to requests for comment by press time.