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Modesto Police Releases Video Detailing In-Custody Death

Carlos Rodriguez

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MODESTO – Authorities released several body worn camera videos and 911 calls Wednesday detailing an in-custody death that occurred on September 27th, 2020.

The videos show the apprehension of 33 year old Emilio Villa Mora on Claus Road after several 911 calls. Some of the calls were placed by Villa Mora himself, claiming members of the Cartel were after him.

One call was from a resident reporting someone in their backyard, and another from a few streets to the north indicated that Villa Mora was attempting to gain access to a vehicle. That vehicle had a child in the backseat.

Police caught up with Villa Mora on Claus Road where they attempted to take him into custody. Villa Mora fled on foot with officers giving chase. A taser was used to try to stop him, but it was ineffective. One officer was able to tackle Villa Mora in front of a residence where he was handcuffed. He was placed in the back of a patrol vehicle and seatbelted in place. He was given water and medics were called to evaluate him. The video appears to show Villa Mora declining medical care.

Later in the 19 1/2 minute video, the officers transport Villa Mora to the residential area where he was positively identified by one of the residents. Authorities noted he did not appear to be in any distress. As the investigation progressed, officers checked on Villa Mora and found him slumped over in the back seat with a seatbelt wrapped around his neck.

Officers cut the seatbelt off Villa Mora who appears unresponsive at this point in the video and begin performing CPR. Police called medical personnel to transport him, but he died the morning of October first.

Authorities believe Villa Mora’s actions were induced by drug use or a mental health situation. They also believe he was able to remove his seatbelt and entangle himself, leading to his asphyxiation.

An investigation into the in-custody death was launched internally and by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. Officials ask anyone with information to contact the investigations division at (209) 572-9551.

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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Armed Suspect Captured After Pursuit, Crash

Carlos Rodriguez

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STOCKTON – A pursuit involving an armed suspect ended in a collision Monday evening.

At about 6:33pm an officer tried to pull over a vehicle and recognized the motorist as someone who was on post release community supervision for gun charges. The driver did not stop and led the officer on a pursuit.

The suspect vehicle collided into a pole near the intersection of East Miner Avenue and North Pilgrim Street. The Stockton Police vehicle behind the suspect collided into the duplex on the corner.

The officer in the vehicle and one occupant of the home were taken to a hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Police say the suspect was apprehended and found with a firearm in his possession. Their identity was not available Monday night.

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Stanislaus State University Warns Students And Staff about Positive COVID-19 Cases Present on Campus

Gaby Muro

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TURLOCK – Safety and Risk Management with the Stanislaus State University Campus in Turlock said two persons who tested positive for COVID-19 were present on campus and warned students and staff about potential exposure.

The university said via an email that on January 15th they received notice two persons previously on campus had tested positive for COVID-19.

The first person was on campus from Monday, January 11th to the 13th from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the second floor of the Demergasso-Bava Hall which houses the departments of business, communications, cognitive studies, liberal studies, education and computer science. The campus newspaper, The Signal and the radio station, KCSS are located at the Demergasso-Bava Hall as well.

Stanislaus State said in the email sent out to students and faculty that the person was present at the restrooms and mailroom on the second floor of the hall.

The second person was on campus Wednesday, January 13th at the shipping and receiving warehouse between 8:00am and 5:00pm, the warehouse restrooms near the break rooms, and the Mary Stuart Rogers Building shipping and receiving elevator at about 3:30pm.

The university also mentioned that students or faculty who were at the same locations may or may not have been exposed to the virus. They mentioned no action was required for those who felt they were not exposed and that an exposure investigation was underway. Those who were considered to be in close contact were told they would receive an additional notification.

Anyone who possibly came into contact with the persons infected on campus was asked to complete the Stan State COVID -19 Reporting Form and can contact the Stan State COVID-19 Response Team by email at covid-reporting@csustan.edu or by phone at (209) 664-6500.

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Fundraiser Established For Ceres Homicide Victim

Gaby Muro

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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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