WESTMORLAND, Calif. - Neighbors of 21 year-old Joseph Matus said he and his girlfriend, along with two small daughters, had recently moved to Westmorland from El Centro; he had just started a new job. They said things seemed to be working out for them. Then, on Friday, he went to the nearby convenience store to get something for his family, and never returned.
Westmorland Police Chief Perry Monita said, “At approximately 2:36 a.m. Friday morning, we received a call of shots fired.”
Monita said they found Matus lifeless at the intersection of North Center Street and East 5th Street. He said officers noticed the body had multiple gunshot wounds.
Our news team found 10 circular markings still on the street, similar to those used by police to mark fallen shell casings.
“The Sherriff’s arrived. Requested assistance from their agency for collection of evidence and for assistance in handling the investigation. There were numerous casings located at the scene,” Monita explained.
Neighbors said Matus’ girlfriend became worried for him because he was taking too long and went out looking for him. A neighbor watched over her children. The neighbor said the girlfriend came back quickly crying because she had just seen Matus on the street. They said she was devastated.
The Imperial County Sheriff’s Office took over the investigation and is asking the public if they have information to please contact them.
Monita said he thinks somebody saw something, and if they did, it would help the investigation if they contacted the authorities.
“2:30 in the morning, in case they might have been driving by. It was pretty quiet at the time but just in case someone might’ve been driving by in that area and saw something,” Monita said.
A Go-Fund-Me page has been setup to help the family in this time of need.