Editor's note: Police are searching the wilderness near Bakersfield, Calif., after a string of violence last week that authorities believe can be attributed to one man. On July 28, police say the unidentified gunman held 3 men captive in a cabin where authorities believe he had been squatting. The men managed to escape when the gunman stepped outside. Two days later, a retired dentist was found shot to death in a cabin 10 miles away. On August 1, police say the gunman fired on SWAT deputies, injuring two of them. - Jillian
Bakersfield is a city in Southern California, United States near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley in Kern County. The city is 110 mi (180 km) north of Los Angeles and about the same distance south of Fresno. It is an inland city about 135 mi (217 km) east of Pismo Beach on the Pacific Ocean. Bakersfield’s population is around 350,000, making it the 9th largest city in California and the 52nd largest city in the United States. The city is also the county seat for Kern County, which encompasses the entire MSA and is the third largest county in California by area. The total Bakersfield inner urban area, which includes East Bakersfield and Rosedale, has a population of about 464,000.
Bakersfield is in Kern County which is generally considered part of Southern California and shares its southern border with Los Angeles County. However, many residents consider Bakersfield to be more a part of Central California as it is near Kings and Tulare counties and is a hub for agriculture and oil production.
Bakersfield is the focal point of the larger Bakersfield-Delano, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is coextensive with Kern County. In 2010, it had a population of 839,631, making it the 62nd largest metropolitan area in United States.
Bakersfield has a very diverse economy. Kern County is the most productive oil producing county, and the fourth most productive agricultural county (by value) in the United States. Other industries include natural gas and other energy extraction, aerospace, mining, petroleum refining, manufacturing, distribution, food processing, and corporate/regional headquarters.