MODESTO – Paulo Virgen Mendoza, also known as Gustavo Perez Arriaga, pleaded guilty Thursday to the shooting death of Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh.
Mendoza was captured after the December 26th, 2018 shooting of Corporal Singh and fleeing south. A relentless search by authorities led to his arrest three days later at a home near Bakersfield. Three other people were arrested in the case for aiding Mendoza. Authorities said he had entered the country illegally, and had two prior DUI arrests in the Madera/Chowchilla area.
The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office said Mendoza entered the guilty plea, admitting to three special circumstances. Those circumstances included committing the murder in an attempt to evade arrest, killing a police officer in the performance of his duties, and discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle with the intent to inflict death.
Mendoza also admitted to acting intentionally, deliberately and with premeditation, as well as intentionally discharging a firearm causing death. Both were enhancements to his charges.
As part of his plea deal, Mendoza waived his right to appeal the decision. In exchange, the District Attorney’s Office agreed to stop seeking the death penalty. Mendoza agreed to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
Mendoza was sentenced by Judge Ricardo Cordova and remanded for transportation to state prison.
Corporal Singh left behind a wife and infant son of five months at the time of the shooting.
“He came to America to become a police officer,” said Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson during a press conference on December 27th, 2018.
“You have to understand, this was not supposed to happen here.”
Corporal Singh, a K-9 officer with his partner Sam, was a native of Fiji and was deeply loved and respected by his peers and community.
“Please remember the man, please remember what he came to this country to do,” said Richardson. “Yes he was a police officer, but more importantly he was a human being.”
Click below to view original video from the case.
Police Investigate Early Evening Shooting
STOCKTON – Two victims with gunshot wounds arrived at a local hospital early Monday evening prompting an investigation.
At about 7:30pm, authorities received a report of gunfire on the 300 block of East Oak Street, between North San Joaquin and North Sutter Streets. Early indications suggest the victims arrived by private vehicle at a hospital.
Shortly before 8:00pm, a report was made of another victim arriving at a hospital.
Police responded to the area to gather evidence and investigate. No further details were available at time of publication.
Teen Charged in Fatal Shooting at Modesto Food Truck
MODESTO – A 13 year old boy was arrested and charged with murder following a Tuesday night shooting at a taco truck.
At about 8:15pm Modesto Police officers responded to the taco truck on the 1600 block of Monterey Avenue for a report of a person shot. Arriving officers found the victim inside.
The victim, identified as 67 year old Rafael Avila-Rodriguez of Salida, was rushed to a hospital but later died.
The investigation determined that the suspect approached the truck on foot and shot the victim before running away.
Detectives identified the suspect as a 13 year old boy from Modesto. He was located during a traffic stop in Southwest Modesto by officers with the Street Gang Unit and arrested. The teen was booked into juvenile hall on murder charges.
Investigators did not have a motive Wednesday morning. Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.
Teens Arrested in Carjacking Case
STOCKTON – Four teens were arrested in a carjacking case after leading officers on a short pursuit.
Police say the carjacking happened shortly after 12:30am near the 400 block of East Sonora Street. A 58 year old man and a 55 year old woman were approached by the suspects while sitting in their vehicle.
Authorities say the victims were forced from the vehicle by the suspects who then took it and left. The vehicle was later located by officers in the area of Hammer Lane and Amber Way. Police tried to stop the vehicle but the suspects fled, leading officers on a short pursuit.
The pursuit ended when the vehicle collided with a fence. All four suspects were identified and taken into custody.
Gabriel Olvera, 18, two 17 year olds and a 16 year old were arrested and charged with carjacking, conspiracy and evading.
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