Family and Friends React to Murder-Suicide in Barstow

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

BARSTOW - Family, friends and neighbors are speaking out after a murder-suicide on Saturday in Barstow. Authorities tell NewsWest 9, a man shot and killed his wife and then turned the gun on himself. Residents of the town said they're shocked anything like this could happen in their community.

"They were a very nice couple, you know," Yolanda Villalobos, a neighbor and friend of the Martinez family, said.

Gone too soon. Friends and family of Joel and Maribel Martinez say the high school sweethearts lived a normal life and had spent a lot of it raising their family and building a house. Villalobos said Barstow is a place where everybody knows everybody.

"They'd come by, pass by, always waving and honking the horn, letting me know they're around," she said.

Villalobos knew Maribel since she was a young girl. Her children are related to the family.

"I've known her since she was about 10 years old, very nice, nice, girl," Villalobos said.

Joel was a volunteer firefighter and Maribel was a secretary at a school in Pecos.

Villalobos says there is really no explanation for why this tragedy happened.

"They were very good neighbors, I mean it's just things that happen in life," she said.

Villalobos said they were the kind of people you could depend on and she will always remember her neighbors from down the road.

"You'd knock on their door and they were there for you," Villalobos said. "That's all I can say they were very good people."

Autopsies have been ordered and no funeral arrangements have been made yet.