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Family Seeks Justice in Strawberry Fields Park Murder

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CERES – A 17 year old boy was charged in the January murder of Miguel Angel Peña of Ceres, who was shot at Strawberry Fields Park and died days later at a hospital.

“I have questions of why,” Fabiola said. Her family could not make any sense of why anyone would do something like this to her brother Sebastián as he was known by his loved ones.

“I think we were full of frustration,” she added. “We have no answers and we wanted to know what was going on.”

Sebastián’s loss is a further blow to her family since the loss of her mother Lupita, who passed away only a couple months prior from cancer. The loss of both of their loved ones have left her relatives in deep depression and uncontrollable anxiety.

“He didn’t just hurt someone,” Fabiola said of the accused. “He hurt a whole family, friends and others.”

Fabiola described her brother as hard working and family oriented. Often working throughout the day with her father or brother. Together they worked in landscaping yards, power washing, or construction jobs.

“What I’m going to miss the most is his caringness,” Fabiola said of her brother. “He always did more for everyone else than he did for himself, and he would always put other people before himself.”

Fabiola said her family has found peace in the thought that her brother and mother are together, and that her family is now focusing on finding justice for Sebastián. They understand the road is long with an expected court case, and are looking forward to being advocates for her brother.

“Me and my other four siblings will speak on behalf of Sebastián, and make sure he gets the justice that he deserves.”

Asuzena Peña, another of Sebastián’s sisters, added that they are glad the suspect turned himself in, but are looking forward to justice being served.

She said her family won’t be satisfied and won’t rest “Until he is trialed and imprisoned for life.” They don’t want another killing they described as ruthless and without thinking.

One day at a time, one step at a time is how the Peña family describes how they will proceed. Through family and through their faith.

“God’s timing is perfect,” Fabiola explained. “It was about to be three months since this happened, and we got a sign. Hopefully this helps, and everything moves faster.”

The arrest happened Wednesday, according to a press release by the Ceres Police Department. The suspect, who according to authorities turned himself in, was booked into Juvenile Hall and faces charges including murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and robbery.

Because he is only 17, the suspect’s identity was not released. Police did say he was from Modesto, however and that the investigation is ongoing.

The shooting originally occurred on January 11th near the area of Malik Avenue and Hackett Road. Sebastián was struck by gunfire along with another passenger he was with in a vehicle. The bullets were fired from a passing car, and struck several neighboring homes. A second round of gunshots were fired as the vehicle drove off. The incident was captured on several home surveillance cameras.

Sebastián was taken home and dropped off by those he was with. He was found by his loved ones, suffering from his injuries in the front yard. Police and medics responded and he was taken to a hospital where he fought for his life, but he died a few days later.

The incident has left Sebastián’s family shattered, a feeling that his sister Fabiola described Thursday afternoon after receiving word that someone was finally being held accountable.

Sebastián was 18 when his life was taken. He is survived by his father Javier, and siblings Javier Jr, Goretty, Jonathan, Asuzena and Fabiola.

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Officer Involved Shooting Investigated in Tracy

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Officers examine a corner of Mosswood Court Friday afternoon where an officer involved shooting took place.

TRACY – One person who was said to be armed with a knife was rushed to a hospital Friday afternoon after being shot by a police officer.

Shortly before 2:00pm officers were called to the area of Mosswood Court for a report of a person with a knife chasing another. During the encounter an arriving officer fired his gun at the person said to be armed with a knife.

Officials at the scene said the person shot was rushed to a hospital in unknown condition. They had identified that person but were holding that information for a proper time.

The neighborhood was closed off while investigators responded to determine what took place.

No other injuries were reported.

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Aircraft Emergency Investigation Closes Mitchell Bridge

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Emergency personnel examine a crashed airplane near the Mitchel Road Bridge Wednesday afternoon.

MODESTO – An investigation into an aircraft emergency closed the northbound lanes of the Mitchell Road Bridge Wednesday afternoon.

At about 1:00pm emergency crews were dispatched to the fields east of the Mitchell Road Bridge north of the Tuolumne River for a report of a plane crash.

Arriving rescuers found a plane crashed face down into the ground near a group of trees. One person was deceased in the aircraft according to an official at the scene.

One witness at the scene said he was driving down Hatch Road when he noticed the plane at an awkward angle, but thought nothing of it at first.

No cause of the crash or estimated time of opening for Mitchell Road was available at time of publication.

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Double Homicide Investigated in Merced County, Warrant Issued For Suspect

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HILMAR – Authorities with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office are searching for a 40 year old man in connection to a double homicide that happened Tuesday night.

Authorities responded to the 19000 block of American Avenue regarding a possible homicide Tuesday night. Arriving deputies located two adult victims deceased.

Wednesday authorities identified 40 year old Victor Bazan as a suspect and issued a warrant for his arrest. Officials believe he is related to one of the victims, and he is known to be transient to the Modesto, Ceres and Turlock areas.

Relatives of one of the victims reaching out said a white stolen vehicle Bazan may have been traveling in was found abandoned in Bakersfield.

Anyone with information regarding Bazan’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact law enforcement immediately. He should not be approached.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact (209) 651-2852 where callers can remain anonymous.

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