Barstow-Area Teens Meet Tragic End at Abandoned Bunker

Did you know there’s an abandoned WWII-era Air Force bunker located west of Barstow? The Center for Land Use Interpretation entry describes Hawes Auxiliary Field (which I think is here) thusly:

…a former World War II training field. The land at the southern half of the airfield remains in military hands, largely because of contamination from diesel fuel used for the generators at the site, and other as-yet-to-becleaned-up remains. Equipment including a 1,226 foot tall tower at the site was used for low frequency communications by the Strategic Air Command, from the 1960’s to the 1980’s (the site was part of the military’s SLFCS and GWEN emergency communication networks)

A two-story underground bunker at the former base of the antenna lies open and exposed to scavengers. Inside are the remnants of three twelve foot long diesel generators (though the facility was on the commercial power grid it also had significant electrical generation capabilities), copper-lined equipment rooms, and administrative offices. Next to the earth-covered bunker are several large underground fuel tanks, the remains of support structures (including the guard house platform), many guy wire footings from the tower, and the overgrown runway.

Sounds like a pretty fantastic local field trip, no? Sadly, not for two promising Inland Empire high school students were just found brutally murdered on the site:

Over time the abandoned Air Force installation has become the haunt of bored teenagers, target shooters and outlaws.

And sometimes worlds collide.

That may have happened in the early morning hours of Jan. 5, when 30 or 40 teenagers from this small community between Barstow and Victorville held a birthday party at the bunker. By dawn two teenagers lay dead inside. Both were shot in the head at close range. The crime scene was so harrowing, it rattled even hardened homicide investigators.

Unsurprisingly, the Air Force says it expects to have the site demolished by the end of the year.

UPDATE: Thanks to Frazgo for pointing to this entry from Crime Scene reprinting an AP announcement that two suspects, an 18-year-old from West Covina and a 19-year-old from Covina, have been arrested. Includes a photo of one.

5 thoughts on “Barstow-Area Teens Meet Tragic End at Abandoned Bunker”

  1. I’ve been out there. One major cellular carrier put a site out there. The landscape is dotted with those bunkers and neo-Nazis. Scary. A lady at a gift shop told me to take a gun or a local with me when I went to shoot my photos. She didn’t expect me to come back alive.

    Are they just dismantling that one or all of them?

  2. oops..I meant to say the victims were 16 &18 and the shooters were 18 & 19 and from the sgv.

  3. Too bad it’s dangerous, sounds like a fun place to explore.

    Locally, if you are into urban exploration there are several abandoned Atlas missile sites in the santa monica mountains.

Comments are closed.