The shooting took place in less than 40 minutes in three closely spaced locations near Bakersfield, California, said Kern County sheriff Donny Youngblood.
The shooter, identified as Javier Casarez, 54, killed himself when a sheriff’s deputy confronted him, Youngblood said.
Along the way, the gunman stole a vehicle from a woman and her child but left them alive, Youngblood said. He told the woman something with the effect, “He wasn’t a bad person,” said Youngblood.
The police are investigating the relationship between the shooter and the victims. But it appears that Casarez and victim Petra Maribel Bolanos De Casarez, 45, started divorcing about four months ago, the sheriff said. They were in “divorce proceedings” and recently requested a hearing related to child support and property, he said.
“It seems like there is more than one husband and wife fighting over targeting other people. There is a reason for it and we have to find that reason,” said the sheriff.
The couple arrived at T&T Trucking at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday and confronted an employee identified as Manuel Contreras, the sheriff said. Casarez shot Contreras with a .50 caliber pistol and then with Bolanos, Youngblood said.
Another man, Antonio Valadez, fled the building. The gunman followed him in his car outside a nearby hunting equipment store and shot him, Youngblood said.
The gunman then drove to a nearby home where he fatally shot Eliseo Cazares, 57, and his daughter Laura Garcia, 31 while they tried to intervene, the sheriff said.
He left the house and hijacked a vehicle with a woman and child, but released them, Youngblood said. He went to a nearby freeway where he saw a stand-in and drove into a crowd.
When the MP drew a gun and confronted him, the shooter shot himself fatally in the stomach, Youngblood said.
Investigators are unsure of a motive, but it appears the former couple had some sort of connection with the shipping company and the shootings were planned, Youngblood said.
CNN’s Jennifer Selva and Jack Hannah contributed to this report.