Livestock News

Fired worker arrested in the shooting of a California dairy farmer


This week heartbreak wrecked the dairy community of Visalia, California. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said that around 2:20 p.m. Sept. 4, deputies were called to Visalia for a victim of a shooting.

When they arrived, they found 56-year-old Anthony Joe Dragt in the middle of the road with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Detectives quickly learned of a possible suspect: Jorge Rivera, 26, was hired to work for the dairy in May 2018 but stopped showing up for work in June 2019. The family told the detectives that, since then, Rivera had been harassing them.

According to details released by the sheriff’s office:

“Detectives were able to track down several surveillance videos from the Dragt Dairy, as well as surrounding dairies. The surveillance videos showed Rivera arriving at the Dragt Dairy at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 4, where employees said he was asking for Tony Dragt. Ten minutes later, at 1:40 p.m., Rivera is seen on surveillance video at another dairy asking for the victim. At 2 p.m., the suspect’s car is seen at the victim’s house. At 2:15 p.m., both the suspect and victims’ vehicles are seen on surveillance video from another dairy.

“After reviewing the surveillance videos, detectives confirmed that Rivera drove a black Chrysler 200, which is similar to the vehicle seen in all of the surveillance videos.

“Through their investigation, detectives were the able to track down Rivera’s cellphone number and ping it to a location on Highway 99, heading toward Bakersfield. Undercover detectives set up and conducted a two-hour surveillance on the suspect’s vehicle. He was located in the Richgrove area around 9:15 p.m.. Detectives stopped his car a short time later in the area of Highway 99 and County Line Road and Jorge Rivera was in custody by 9:22 p.m. Four guns were found in his car.

The case remains under investigation and anyone with information is urged to contact the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 559-733-6218 or 1-800-808-0488 or anonymously at or by text or voicemail at 559-725-4194.

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