Local man murdered March 4

By LAURA Austin

News Review Staff Writer

The man killed in Ridgecrest earlier this month has been identified by the Kern County Coroner’s Office as Matthew Ian Petersen, 43, of Ridgecrest. His cause of death was listed as multiple injuries of the head.

Initial reports from the Ridgecrest Police Department said he was found with a gunshot wound, but the coroner’s office did not clarify whether Petersen was shot and that a gunshot wound may not have been the cause of death.

On Friday March 4 officers from the Ridgecrest Police Department (RPD) were dispatched at 8:55 p.m. to the 1500 block of S. Porter St. The call came in as a physical altercation in the street with a gunshot being heard and a possible cry for help.

Officers who arrived on scene saw a dark colored sedan fleeing the area at a high rate of speed. RPD Officer Kyle Cushman, gave pursuit and was able to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle. Cushman contacted and identified the driver of the vehicle as 28 year old Erwin Moore Jr. During a search of Moore’s vehicle, officers located a handgun and additional evidence that linked him to this homicide. Within moments of the 911 dispatch other RPD officers arrived on scene and located a male adult lying in the street with a gunshot wound. Officers rushed to the aide of the man finding no signs of life and the man was pronounced deceased at the scene. The man will be identified by the Kern County Coroner’s Office at a later date.

During the investigation officers contacted 32 year old Brian Coykendall, who was at the scene. Evidence was located that directly connected Coykendall to this homicide.

Detectives from the RPD were dispatched and responded to assist in this investigation. Officers and Detectives developed information that tied both Moore and Coykendall to the homicide. Based on the circumstances, they were arrested and charged with first degree murder.

Both men were being held without bail and in court on Tuesday March 8. Both men pled not guilty to the murder in connection to the deadly shooting.

This continues to be an ongoing investigation and anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the Ridgecrest Police Department at (760) 499-5100

During the 2022 Outlook Conference in February, Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer stated that Kern County had been dubbed the murder capitol of the state. She noted however that distinction does not apply to Ridgecrest.

Story First Published: 2022-04-01