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Second Arrest Made in Turlock Homicide Case

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Juan Jose Cruz Jr, Miguel Saldate - Turlock Police Department.

TURLOCK – Authorities announced charges against a second suspect in a recent shooting death Thursday morning.

The investigation stemmed from the fatal shooting of 26 year old Mario Meza, a resident of Modesto. The homicide occurred on September 7th at about 4:15am near the 200 block of North Tully Road.

Police initially detained 20 year old Miguel Saldate, who was arrested and charged with several felony charges including homicide. Detectives investigating the case identified a second individual, 19 year old Juan Jose Cruz Junior as a suspect.

Authorities interviewed Cruz at the Turlock Police Department on Wednesday September 9th. He was arrested and also charged with homicide, attempted homicide, aggravated assault, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Authorities booked him into the Stanislaus County Jail.

It is unclear if there were more parties involved in the incident, however investigators are working to identify all who were.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Timothy Redd at (209) 664-7325, 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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Schools Locked Down for Suspect Search

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MODESTO – Two schools were placed on lockdown during a search for a suspect Friday afternoon.

The incident happened at about 1:00pm when a Stanislaus County Sheriff Deputy noticed a vehicle that had been reported stolen on Dallas Street near Glenn Avenue. The driver of the stolen vehicle appeared to be talking to someone in the area, according to officials at the scene.

The driver ran away on foot as deputies made their approach. The man jumped fences through a yard and fled into an alleyway. The Stanislaus Sheriff Air Unit spotted the man making his way into a yard on Las Vegas Street.

Bret Harte Elementary and Hanshaw Middle School were placed on lockdown as a search team was organized. Within a few minutes the man was located hiding under a vehicle and quickly detained without incident.

By 2:00pm the lockdowns were lifted. No injuries were reported.

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Stockton Police Investigate Fatal Shooting

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STOCKTON – Police investigated the fatal shooting of a man in broad daylight Tuesday afternoon.

At about 3:30pm Officers responded to the 900 block of Porter Avenue for a report of a shooting. A 29 year old man was found at the scene suffering from at least one gunshot wound. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he died from his injuries.

Residents in the area reported hearing a gunshot shortly before police arrived.

Porter Avenue was closed by authorities while detectives responded to investigate the case. No suspect information or motive was available Tuesday night.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact police at (209) 937-8377 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Woman Involved in Amber Alert Found Safe

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MODESTO – The woman involved in a recent Amber Alert that involved children and a suspect found in Modesto was found safe Monday, authorities said.

Mariela Costello, 32, was found safe although further details regarding her location were not provided.

Costello was identified as a previously unreported missing person by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office. Out of state relatives became concerned when they did not hear from her sometime around September 16th.

Investigators turned their focus on 34 year old Nicholas Zeko who told authorities he left the woman in Moreno Valley, but kept her wallet and cell phone. Authorities issued an Amber Alert after Zeko fled with their two children, claiming their lives were in imminent danger.

Zeko and the two children were found in Modesto at the Tiki Lodge on McHenry Avenue. A Modesto Police officer noticed his SUV that had its trim freshly painted. Zeko was quickly detained without incident.

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