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Suspect in Newman Police Corporal Killing Case Receives Life Sentence

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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.

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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Car Crash Causes Chain Reaction of Power Outages, Fires

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MODESTO – A vehicle that collided into a utility pole Thursday afternoon caused a chain reaction of power outages and fires in a West Modesto neighborhood.

The incident happened Thursday shortly before 12:30pm. A vehicle collision near Rouse and Roselawn Avenues involving a utility pole caused power lines to snap mid-block to the west. The energized lines collapsed and sparked a fire that quickly engulfed at least one outbuilding. The fire began to spread south consuming vegetation and jumping fences into neighboring properties.

Several fire crews responded from various agencies, including Turlock City and Manteca. Firefighters were able to control the forward spread of the fire mid-block on Colorado Avenue. Some neighbors used garden hoses to defend their properties as best as they could.

Emergency crews were on scene for several hours. Utility crews de-energized the damaged lines for repair. Several residents in the area were without power for some time while repairs were made.

The driver of the involved car that crashed into a utility pole was not located. Police officers responded to investigate. There was an apparent auto theft nearby roughly around the same time, but authorities weren’t sure if the incidents were connected.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Shooting Claims Man’s Life, Injures Another

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STOCKTON – Police investigated a shooting that fatally wounded a man and injured another Tuesday night.

Police officers responded to the 1800 block of South San Joaquin at about 9:42pm for a report of a shooting. Arriving officers found two men suffering from gunshot wounds.

One victim, a 33 year old man, died from his injuries at the scene. The second victim, a 41 year old man, was transported to a hospital for treatment and is expected to survive.

A witness in the area who wished to remain anonymous said they heard a disturbance down the street shortly before the gunfire. They described what appeared to be someone running away, but couldn’t make out a description.

The intersection of San Joaquin and Fourth Strets were closed off by police. The crime scene extended to South Sutter Street. Detectives responded to investigate the shooting, however no motive or suspect description was available for release Wednesday.

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

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Deputies Investigate Report of Shooting Near Mobile Home Park

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MODESTO – Deputies investigated a report of a shooting near a South Modesto mobile home park Sunday night.

The incident was reported shortly before midnight near the Modesto Mobile Village on South Seventh Street. Arriving deputies located one person with an injury. An ambulance responded to the scene to treat the injured person but it appeared they did not require hospitalization.

Several people appeared to be detained by deputies nearby during the investigation. An area west of an entrance to the mobile home park was taped off as a crime scene.

No further details were available at time of publication.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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