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Fundraiser Established For Ceres Homicide Victim

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Photo: Peña Family

CERES – Authorities identified 18-year-old Miguel Peña of Ceres, known as Sebastián to his family, as the homicide victim from Monday.

Sebastián was a passenger of a vehicle with two other occupants on Malik Drive near Strawberry Fields Park Monday night, when another vehicle drove by and opened fire. Sebastián was struck several times, another occupant was struck in the arm.

Just two months before his death, Sebastián had lost his mother after a hard fought battle with cancer.

“Two months ago we suffered the great loss of my mother, who fought tirelessly with cancer and sadly lost the battle. Today my family is in mourning again after the loss of my younger brother Miguel Ángel Sebastián Peña,” said Fabiola Peña, one of Sebastián’s older sisters in a GoFundMe fundraiser.

Police say Sebastián underwent surgery but passed away a few days after the shooting. Peña says her family is left with enormous pain and emptiness.

“With heart in hand we ask you to help us with whatever you can; either financially or with your prayers. Family and friends, the Peña family. We need you more than ever.”

Anyone who would like to help the Peña family can do so by CLICKING HERE.

The Ceres Police Department is continuing to investigate and ask anyone with information or surveillance video to contact Officer Brian Petersen at (209) 538-5627. If callers wish to remain anonymous they can contact Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 or 1-866-602-7463.

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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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