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Containment Increases on SCU Complex Fire

Carlos Rodriguez

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DEL PUERTO CANYON – Firefighters reported increased containment on a fire that has burned into several counties for over a week.

The SCU Lightning Complex Fire was reported to have increased in size to 365,772 acres with 20 percent containment Tuesday evening. The fire has affected several areas across several counties including Stanislaus, Merced, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, San Benito, Alameda and Santa Clara.

In total, CalFire reports 18 structures destroyed, 13 minor structures destroyed, and 6 additional structures damaged. Three first responders have been injured in the blaze, as well as two civilians.

Fire crews have made significant progress in the “Deer Zone” area of the fire, reporting 100 percent containment there. Officials say increased humidity in the western area of the fire has helped with fire intensity, noting that Tuesday was the coolest day since the fire began.

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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Fundraiser Established for Semple Street Shooting Victim

Gaby Muro

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Photo: Family/GoFundMe

MODESTO – Family of one of the victims of Friday’s shooting on Semple Street held a vigil over the weekend and established a fundraiser for the unexpected funeral costs.

Friends and relatives gathered in front of the home late Saturday afternoon with candles and flowers to honor the victims who were gunned down in front of a home Friday night. Brandon Wheeler was identified as one of the victims who lost his life.

“Brandon was a loved son, brother and dad,” the organizer of the fundraiser said. “He leaves behind his three kids and family and friends who all loved him dearly. He truly was an amazing man, he would give the shirt off of his back and the shoes off his feet. I could name several times he came home barefoot for this exact reason.”

The shooting happened on Semple Street just north of Jones Street Friday night shortly before 9:00pm. Three people were reported shot in front of the home. Police and medics arrived quickly to provide care for the injured. They were rushed to a hospital where Brandon and another victim passed away. The third victim is expected to survive.

Officials with the Modesto Police Department say detectives have been working hard on the case to find the individual or individuals responsible for the shooting. Authorities are encouraging anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

Anyone interested in donating to Brandon Wheeler’s fundraiser can do so by clicking on the link here.

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San Joaquin County Homicide Victim Identified

Carlos Rodriguez

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SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY – Authorities investigating a shooting that claimed the life of a 25 year old man are asking for tips from the public.

Shortly after 9:00pm Saturday night, deputies with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a shooting near the area of Fremont Street and Oro Avenue just outside the City of Stockton.

Deputies arrived to what officials described as a chaotic scene with one shooting victim. The victim, identified as Alvaro Morales-Yac, was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Authorities believe the driver of a dark colored Chrysler 300 with two red stripes on the sides is responsible for the shooting. He was described as a Hispanic or light skinned African American man wearing dark clothing. The suspect was said to be armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call (209) 468-4400.

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Stockton Man Arrested for Solicitations of Sex Toward Children

Carlos Rodriguez

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FRESNO – A Stockton man was arrested last week by authorities on charges of soliciting sex toward children, but he was actually communicating with an undercover investigator.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said 39 year old John Plappert of Stockton drove two hours to Fresno believing he was arranging a meeting for sex with a minor.

The Internet Crimes Against Children investigators monitor social media platforms for this type of activity. They said Plappert unknowingly contacted an undercover detective and began asking about access to children.

Authorities say Plappert expressed a desire to rape a 9 year old girl while being watched. He then requested to meet in Fresno Wednesday night, where authorities set up and arrested him.

Officials with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office encourage parents to monitor their children’s social media use, and maintain open lines of communication to build trust.

Plappert was booked into the Fresno County Jail on $35,000 bail.

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