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A California Man Went to a Gift Exchange. Instead of Giving Presents, He Fatally Shot His Grandma, Father's Girlfriend.

Man Killed Two Family Members During Christmas Gift Exchange
Source: Fresno County Sheriff's Office; MEGA

Austin Alvarez pleaded no contest to the charges and was sentenced to 114 years total in prison, officials said.

Jun. 26 2024, Published 12:10 p.m. ET

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A California man opened fire at a Christmas present exchange killing his grandmother and father’s girlfriend and now, a judge sentenced the man to decades in prison for the murders, officials said.

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The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office in California announced the arrest of Austin Alvarez, 26, in connection with the double murder. He has been charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Around 1:45 p.m. on Dec. 25, 2021, Fresno County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a shots fired call at a home in Reedley, California. There, deputies found two women with gunshot wounds.

The suspect, Alvarez, left the area in a GMC pickup trick before officers arrived, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

Various police agencies searched for Alvarez and found him in nearby Orange Cove, according to the sheriff’s office. He was then taken into custody.

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Witnesses said Alvarez arrived at the house, where some of his family members gathered to exchange Christmas gifts. During the visit, Alvarez opened fire, hitting his grandmother — Magdalena Alvarez — and his father’s girlfriend — Meisa Rashid.

Alvarez then shot at his father, who was in a parked vehicle, as the suspect left the house, according to the sheriff’s office. His father was not injured.

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Police say they never determined the motive for the shooting. Court efforts tried to raise doubts about the mental health of Alvarez, but a judge previously ruled that he was mentally competent, KFSN-TV reported.

On June 20, a judge sentenced Alvarez to a total of 114 years to life for the murders after Alvarez pleaded no contest to the charges, saying he would not fight the two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder any longer.

During the sentencing, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Wilson said, "Probation is denied, and the defendant is committed to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation."

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