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Fatal Hit and Run Investigated as Homicide

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MODESTO – Police detectives investigated a hit and run that claimed the life of a woman as a homicide Wednesday morning.

Shortly after midnight police were called to the area of Maze Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr Drive for a report of a person hit by a vehicle.

Officers arriving at the scene located a man and woman who were both struck by a vehicle. A woman was found in the alley behind the convenience store at the intersection. A man who was also struck and injured crawled toward the front of the store for help.

The woman who was found in the alley was unresponsive. Police officers began performing CPR on her until medics arrived. She was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased. The male victim was also taken to a hospital by ambulance and was taken straight into treatment.

Authorities believed a possible argument had led up to the incident according to Lieutenant Chris Adams. Witness accounts indicated the act appeared intentional, the Lieutenant explained. Police were also reviewing surveillance video.

One witness who declined to be identified said he saw the vehicle strike a person, back up and then hit them again. He explained he then saw the vehicle drive away from the area.

Police officers closed off the alleyway with crime scene tape as detectives and crime scene technicians responded to investigate and gather evidence.

While officers worked the scene, a police cadet spotted a vehicle nearby matching the description. The cadet, identified as Mason Lewis, followed the vehicle and guided patrol officers to its location. Officers were able to stop the vehicle and detain the driver to be interviewed.

Cadet Lewis has been with the department since his signing up as an explorer and is on his way to the police academy Lieutenant Adams said.

The Nissan sedan suspected of being involved in the crash was seized as evidence by police. There was visible damage on the vehicle and it was missing a mirror. The front passenger tire was flat.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Modesto Police Department or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

Carlos Rodriguez is an Emmy Award winning photojournalist specializing in public safety and natural disasters. His passion for local news stems from a deep commitment to his community, with a selfless mission to inform the citizens of the valley. As he worked on assignment for 19 days at the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, California, he spent most of his time helping survivors contact their loved ones to let them know they were ok. Carlos is a veteran of Univision, FOX, and Telemundo TV stations and a native of Modesto, California.

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Teen Suffers Head Wound in Highway Shooting, Suspects Arrested

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STOCKTON – Investigators with the California Highway Patrol arrested a man suspected of being involved in a shooting that wounded a teen Monday afternoon.

The incident happened shortly after 3:00pm near the area of Highway 99 and Kettleman Lane in Lodi. According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver of a Nissan Altima fired a gun several times at the victim vehicle, striking a teenage passenger in the head. The driver of the victim vehicle drove the teen to Lodi Memorial Hospital for care. Valley Division CHP Investigators responded to work the case.

Moses Mercado, a 21 year old resident of Lodi, was identified as a suspect during the course of the investigation. Investigators located and arrested Mercado after a brief pursuit in South Stockton that ended on South California near Worth Street. A passenger of the Nissan Altima, 21 year old Bella Villanueva of Ripon, was also arrested. Villanueva faces charges of aiding and abetting, conspiracy, and concealing evidence.

Mercado was charged with attempted murder, carrying a loaded firearm with a previous felony conviction, being a felon in possession of a firearm, conspiracy to commit a crime, being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition, and shooting at an inhabited vehicle. He is in custody without bail and due in court on June 30th at 1:30pm.

A third suspect, 29 year old Edgar Hernandez of Stockton, was arrested and charged with carrying a loaded unregistered firearm concealed in a vehicle.

“We want to assure the public that these acts of violence are not random, but are often targeted attacks between parties that know each other,” said Commander Mel Hutsell of the Stockton CHP Office. “We take these types of incidents very seriously and are committed to ensuring public safety.”

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact CHP Investigations at (916) 731-6300.

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Brush Fire Fills Skies with Smoke

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SALIDA – A brush fire in the north end of Stanislaus County filled the skies over Modesto and neighboring communities with smoke Monday and Tuesday.

The fire was reported in San Joaquin County initially, but jumped the Stanislaus River late Monday afternoon. The fire burned in heavy brush along the river near the 10100 block of Beckwith Road.

Early indications suggest the fire to have burned 150-200 acres, however at time of publication an exact measurement was not available.

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Airport Neighborhood Shooting Investigated

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MODESTO – One person was rushed to a hospital after a report of a person shot Monday Afternoon.

The incident happened shortly after 1:30pm near the intersection of Kerr Avenue and Tenaya Drive. An ambulance left with one person and a sheriff deputy following close behind.

The area was closed off with crime scene tape as deputies examined the scene. Evidence technicians and investigators responded as well.

No further details were available at time of publication.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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