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The house on Symonds Drive in Pine Mountain where a man was shot Friday, July 20 is encircled by crime scene tape. [Hedlund photo for The Mountain Enterprise]
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Wade Cadwallader greeted friends from the hospital on his Facebook Wall, telling them he was going to be okay.
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Wade Cadwallader is a talented beatbox musician, friends say. This photo is from his Facebook front page.
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A cap, shoes and a blood-stained shirt were left in the pine needles at the scene two days after Cadwallader was helped by Station 58 paramedics and taken by ambulance helicopter to Kern Medical Center.
By Patric Hedlund
A group of neighbors in Pine Mountain were planning to gather Friday evening, July 20 for a friendly game of poker. It was a pleasant night in the small community. Cindy and Darryl Clark of Symonds Drive had just returned from a trip to the coast. Clark was out walking her dog “Snicks.”
Just down the way, in the Pine Mountain Village gazebo, actors were taking their places backstage, the audience was gathering and old friends were greeting each other as the Mountain Shakespeare Festival was about to begin its final performance of The Tempest.
Belinda Young, a Pine Mountain bookkeeper, says the poker group was waiting for Wade Cadwallader, 23 to join them at 8 p.m. “He’s a sweet young man,” she said, “a very talented musician.”
Cadwallader, whose nickname is ‘Kenny,’ had grown up in the Mountain Communities with her own children, going to local schools, graduating in 2007. About a month ago he moved into a 3,600 square foot home on Symonds Drive on which he was helping to do some finish carpentry.
Cadwallader never made it to the poker game that night.
At 7:50 p.m. the voice of a Kern County dispatcher was crackling over the radio to alert sheriff’s deputies and Kern County’s paramedic firefighters at Station 58 that three shots had been fired on Symonds Drive, just a quarter mile up the way from their station.
A few minutes later, the Shakespeare Festival audience heard a medevac helicopter overhead, circling to set down at the helipad across from a stretch of Lampkin Park grass.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office reports they were dispatched to the 2100 block of Symonds Drive for three (3) shots being fired and a black compact vehicle fleeing the area.
“Deputies arrived and located a 23-year-old male victim of a shooting who appeared to have been shot one (1) time in the abdomen,” deputies reported. “The victim said he was shot by an Asian male in his 20s who drives a black KIA.”
“Paramedics coming up the road told Darryl, my husband, ‘Get in the house, it is a dangerous situation,’” Cindy Clark recalls with a shiver. Law enforcement vehicles were speeding up the road past their house. “We went inside and didn’t come out after that.”
Derek Tisinger, KCFD spokesman, said the paramedics were dispatched to “stage” (to be prepared to come onto the scene) but use their discretion to approach the scene and render aid, according to the report. They immediately requested an air ambulance to transport the patient to Kern Medical Center.
The victim was Wade “Kenny” Cadwallader. He was transported to the Kern Medical Center by air, where he is listed in serious condition. “However his injuries were not considered life threatening,” the sheriff’s office said. By the time that official release went out, rumors were already cycling throughout the community about what had happened.
Friends say they were told a man came to Cadwallader’s home and pulled a gun. The high school running back bolted out the door and down the hill through the trees. Three shots were fired. Just one hit its mark. “He went down and played dead until he heard the car leave,” a local realtor said he was told by his son, “but I’m just telling you rumors that I heard from my son who talked with Wade’s mother.”
Deputies threaded hundreds of feet of yellow “Caution, Restricted Area Keep Out” crime scene tape through the pine forest surrounding the big red house on the hill, stringing it down the hillside to encircle two other homes on the corner of Cypress and Symonds Drive.
At the very corner, a pair of bright yellow, red, green and black Nike running shoes still snuggles together in the tree well of a sapling, just up the bank from a bright T-shirt of the same colors; it looks like it has been cut open by paramedics and is saturated with dried blood. A black, green yellow and red knit cap lies in the pine needles.
Over 50 of Cadwallader’s Facebook friends left messages on his Facebook page. On Monday, July 23, three days after the shooting, Cadwallader wrote this: "Yeah…what’s up… glad to hear from you all. I’m gonna be okay—will be up and rollin’ in a week, hopefully. I’m a beast. You can’t keep me down."
Tim Garcia, a teacher at Frazier Mountain High School wrote back: "Abs of steel paid off. All your former teachers are very happy you’ll be O.K.” Amy Scheenstra said, "Gosh, way to muscle through it Wade! I’m thankful you’re alive! Take it easy and heal up soon, old neighbor."
Belinda Young was helping to tend bar at Madd Bailey’s pub in Pine Mountain Village Monday, where a pool game and talk of Cadwallader’s recovery were the center of attention.
“He does beatboxing so well, you can dance to it,” Young and Cadwallader’s friend Brandon Arthur agreed. Beatboxing is a hip-hop percussion done with the mouth, tongue, voice and a microphone to create drum beats, rhythm and musical sounds. The art has become a worldwide sensation.
Arthur was one year ahead of Cadwallader at Frazier Mountain High School. Both played football. “I was varsity when he was in JV” in 2006, he remembers. “He’s a nice guy.”
He said the 23-year-old has music connections in Los Angeles and has been working hard on his music.
Questions are being raised in the community about why Mil Portrero Highway or Cuddy Valley Road—the two-lane mountain roads out of Pine Mountain—were not blocked off by law enforcement to stop the shooter, who is thought to be from the L.A. area.
“It takes about 20 minutes to get from Pine Mountain to Frazier Park, and there is only one road out,” residents began mentioning to The Mountain Enterprise Saturday, as they began thinking through their questions about what had happened.
Beyond catching the assailant, there is a sense of amazement being expressed that this could happen in a mountain village that has been untouched by urban violence.
“I guess it’s like the wild west out here,” one neighbor on Symonds wrote to another.
Cindy Clark said she and her husband had only heard “happy sounds” from the big red house. “I heard sanding and sawing as they were working on the place. And a couple of weeks ago I heard the sound of a happy billiards party as I was walking the dog.”
Anyone having information on this incident is asked to contact the Kern County Sheriff’s Office at (661) 861-3110 or contact Secret Witness at (661) 322-4040. Anonymous “text” tips can be sent to TIP411 (847411). Type the key word “KCSO” prior to the message.
This is part of the July 27, 2012 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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