Weeks Long Kern County Manhunt Ends with Suspect Dead

The deceased was suspected of taking three men hostage, wounding two deputies, and killing a retired dentist over the 18-day crime spree.

Benjamin Peter Ashley was shot several times after failing to comply with orders to drop his weapon after deputies found him in the foothills east of Bakersfield, near Ridgecrest.

Ashley had four weapons on his person at the time of death, including a pair of .44-caliber handguns.

A convenience store owner reported a man matching Ashley’s description coming into the store and buying a pile of junk food. The store owner said, "He was dirty. He looked like he had been hiking for days."

The manhunt led to several schools and a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail being shut down.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said detectives were searching for a motive. Ashley, who was described as a homeless man, first took the three men hostage when they had confronted him about squatting on their property.

More on the Kern County manhunt can be found here.