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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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Stockton Police Investigate Homicide

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Officers investigate a homicide Sunday afternoon near West Lane and Knickerbocker Drive.

STOCKTON – Police investigated the fatal shooting of a 20 year old man Sunday afternoon.

Shortly before 5:00pm, authorities responded to the area of West Lane and Knickerbocker drive for a report of a person shot. Arriving officers located a 20 year old man who had suffered at least one gunshot wound. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Detectives responded to the scene to investigate the shooting, however no suspect information or motive was available.

The area has been the scene of at least two other shootings this year, one of them fatal. At least one business in the shopping center appears to have since closed after the shootings.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Stockton Police Department at (209) 937-8377 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Explosives Found, Turlock Pursuit Suspect Arrested

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TURLOCK – A 23 year old man was arrested after leading authorities on two pursuits, and the discovery of explosive devices.

Police say they were called May 5th to a gas station on the 100 block of North Tully Road for a report of a man who was asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle in the parking lot. Arriving officers suspected the man to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Authorities said the vehicle’s windows were heavily tinted, but the man could be seen awake and moving inside.

Officers asked the man to open the door, but he refused. They opened his vehicle door and asked him to get out, but he still ignored their orders.

The driver, later identified as 23 year old Jonathan Alan Lewis, then drove the vehicle in reverse, striking an officer. That officer was able to move away and escape injury.

Lewis fled the parking lot and sped north on Highway 99, leading officers on a pursuit. The pursuit was terminated for safety concerns near the area of Fulkerth Road and Golden State Boulevard. Officers later found the vehicle in Keyes, at which time Lewis fled again, striking a parked police motorcycle and almost hitting another officer.

Authorities later located the vehicle abandoned in Ceres. The vehicle was seized as evidence and towed to the Turlock Public Safety Facility where it would be stored until a search warrant was issued.

Police were able to perform a search of the vehicle for evidence on May 11th after obtaining a search warrant. During a search, an improvised explosive device was found inside the car. The discovery of the explosive device led to an evacuation of the Public Safety Facility and a request for assistance from the Stanislaus County Sheriff Bomb Squad. The bomb squad was able to safely remove the device and analyze it, confirming it to be an explosive.

Lewis was arrested in Solano County after leading authorities there on another pursuit. Turlock Police Detectives and investigators, the Stanislaus Sheriff Bomb Squad, and ATF agents served a warrant at his apartment Friday night on the 900 block of Pedras Road. Additional evidence was collected and seized by police.

Lewis faces charges of aggravated assault, hit and run, evading an officer, resisting arrest, and possession of a destructive device. He also faces charges for crimes committed in Solano County.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Officer Richard Fortado at (209) 664-7399 or the Tip Line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780.

Photo: Turlock Police Department Body-Worn Camera

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Vehicle of Interest Sought in Homicide of Door Dash Driver

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MODESTO – Investigators with the Modesto Police Department are seeking the public’s help identifying a vehicle of interest in the shooting death of a Door Dash delivery driver.

Andrew Satavu, 56, was found shot next to his vehicle on April 18th after delivering food on the 1600 block of Gardenia Road. Life saving efforts were performed but Satavu died at the scene.

Detectives with the Violent Crimes Unit are continuing their work on the case and ask anyone who may have information to please come forward.

The vehicle in the video appears to be a late 90’s 4-door Toyota Camry.

Anyone with information regarding the vehicle of interest is encouraged to contact Detective Ridenour at (209) 495-9844 or by email at ridenourdm@modestopd.com. Crime Stoppers can also be contacted at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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