Police Arrest Suspect in ‘Forever Purge’ Shooting at California Theater

Edwards Theater Corona Shooting
Screenshot Courtesy of YouTube/Fox 11

Police have arrested a suspect in the shooting of two teenagers at a showing of “The Forever Purge” in Corona, Calif., on Monday night.

Detectives arrested Joseph Jimenez, 20, after serving a search warrant on Tuesday night. The shooting left an 18-year-old woman dead, while the second victim remains on life support at the hospital. Police said the shooting appeared to have been an unprovoked attack.

“It’s just a tragic, horrific crime,” said Corona Police Cpl. Tobias Kouroubacalis. “They were there minding their own business, watching a movie and they were attacked with a gun.”

Police were called around 11:45 p.m. on Monday, after the screening at the Regal Edwards Corona Crossings. Theater workers had discovered the two injured teenagers while cleaning up.

Rylee Goodrich, 18, of Corona, was pronounced dead at the scene. Anthony Barajas, 19, of Corona, was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Barajas is an influencer with more than 900,000 followers on TikTok.

“Anthony was the light of so many peoples lives and there are tough times ahead, but we have amazing family and friends to get through this,” said Julia Barajas, in a GoFundeMe on behalf of his family.

CBS Los Angeles reported that Goodrich was home on break from Grand Canyon University in Arizona.

A separate GoFundMe was set up to help pay the Goodrich family’s funeral expenses.

“Words seem inadequate to express the sorrow felt by the loss of Rylee,” the organizers said. “Her kindness, and gentle spirit will be remembered forever.”

Witness statements helped detectives identify Jimenez as a suspect, Kouroubacalis said. The police served a search warrant on Tuesday night, and recovered a gun with a caliber matching the casings found at the theater. Police also recovered Goodrich’s wallet in Jimenez’ possession, Kouroubacalis said.

There was no indication that Jimenez knew either of the victims.

Police had initially said that six people bought tickets for the showing, and they were looking to speak with those people. Kouroubacalis said Wednesday that it was possible that no one else was in the theater at the time of the shooting, however, which would explain the delay in reporting it.

“The Forever Purge” is the fifth installment in the “Purge” franchise, which is premised on the idea of an annual ritual when murder and mayhem become temporarily legal. The investigation has not shown any connection between the shooting and the themes of the film, Kouroubacalis said.

The screening was scheduled to begin at 9:35 p.m., and the film has a 1 hour, 44 minute runtime.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Regal Cinemas said it was working with local investigators.

“We have received confirmation of an incident at our Corona Crossings theatre last night,” the company said. “We are currently working with the local authorities regarding the investigation. Our primary concern is for the safety and security of our guests and staff.”

Jimenez was booked at the Riverside Presley Detention Center on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and robbery. His bail was set at $2 million.