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Vigil Held for Fire Victims

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MODESTO – A vigil was held in front of a home where two residents lost their lives in a fire Wednesday morning and three others were injured.

At least a couple hundred people attended the vigil, where those who knew the victims placed flowers, candles and balloons at the home where a fire consumed a home Wednesday morning. Some played music while others prayed.

Maria Elena Cabrera and her son Marcos Garcia died in the fire. Witnesses reported Cabrera ran back into the home during the fire after her son didn’t exit. Cabrera’s husband and two younger children managed to escape. Two of them were airlifted by helicopter to burn centers, the third was treated on scene by medical personnel. (Our previous article incorrectly reported three children were injured in the fire. The correct information is two children and one adult.)

The fire happened shortly after 7:00am on El Sereno Street in the Rancho Encantado neighborhood in South Modesto. Fire crews found heavy fire and smoke conditions on arrival, and upon learning about trapped residents requested a second alarm for more resources. Rescue strategies were executed, using ladders and making entry through windows.

Ammunition found in the home along with aerosol containers complicated the situation for fire crews trying to bring the situation under control according to Modesto Fire Chief Alan Ernst.

Investigators with the Modesto Police Department, Stanislaus Regional Fire Investigations Unit and other agencies were on scene examining the home well into Wednesday afternoon. Early reports indicated several callers reported fireworks going off around the time of the fire, but that has yet to be determined.

Those in attendance Wednesday said Marcos was a car detailer and was well liked by the neighbors. The family was described as hard working. Videos posted to Marcos’ instagram account the evening before showed his skills and attention to detail while cleaning the interior of a customer’s vehicle.

Several fundraiser accounts were established to aid the victims for their needs. Those interested in supporting can visit the following links for more information.

Ayuda para la familia de Malena Cabrera

The Garcia Family

Malena Cabrera y Marcos Garcia

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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Brush Fire Blows Smoke Into Valley

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MODESTO – Hazy smoke from a Livermore area fire blew into the valley Thursday afternoon.

The incident called the “Tesla Fire” was last reported to be about 250 acres with potential for growth by about 7:00pm.

The fire was spotted shortly before 6:00pm near Tesla Road, west of Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area. Aircraft assigned to the incident reported critical rate of spread reaching 100 acres in a short period of time, with potential to reach at least 500 acres.

Fire crews work to direct the blaze to a riverbed, requesting several tankers and helicopters to assist.

Winds were reported in the Modesto area at about 15mph. Those with sensitivity and health issues should remain indoors.

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Modesto Homicide Victim Identified

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MODESTO – Authorities identified the victim of Tuesday night’s fatal shooting on Ramsey Drive as 29 year old Michelle Rose Gonzales.

Shortly before 9:30pm officers with the Modesto Police Department responded to the 500 block of Ramsey Drive after receiving a call from a child saying their mother had been shot. Arriving officers located the victim in front of her home suffering from gunshot wounds. Life saving efforts were performed, but she died from her injuries.

Detectives responded to continue the investigation and quickly identified the suspect. Authorities discovered he was also a potential suspect in a homicide just a couple hours earlier in San Jose.

Meanwhile, officers with California Highway Patrol located the suspect traveling into the Bay Area and engaged in a pursuit. The pursuit traveled north along Highway 101 and into South San Jose, where the suspect fled on foot and barricaded himself in a shed behind a home near the 100 block of Bendorf Drive. An hours long standoff took place that ended in an officer involved shooting. The suspect was struck by gunfire and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The suspect’s identity is yet to be released by officials.

In a GoFundMe account established for Michelle and her children, she was described as a mother of two and a young, beautiful soul who was the victim of a senseless act of domestic violence.

Anyone interested in donating to the fundraiser can do so by CLICKING HERE.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Detective Ra Pouv at (209) 572-9826, or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Modesto Homicide Suspect Involved in Another Killing, Officer Involved Shooting in San Jose

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SAN JOSE – The suspect involved in Tuesday night’s homicide on Ramsey Drive in Modesto was taken to a hospital following a pursuit and officer involved shooting Wednesday morning.

The Ramsey Drive homicide happened shortly before 9:30pm. Police responded to a report of a person shot and located a 29 year old woman who was injured in the shooting. Emergency personnel attempted life saving measures but the victim died from her injuries.

Later in the night, officers with California Highway Patrol engaged in a pursuit with the suspect near the Gilroy area. The pursuit continued north on Highway 101 until exiting onto surface streets in South San Jose. Police officers took over the pursuit until it ended near the 100 block of Bendorf Drive. Authorities said the suspect fired at officers during the pursuit.

Officials with the San Jose Police Department believed the suspect was also involved in a homicide in their jurisdiction. That incident happened shortly after 7:00pm near the 1400 block of Mount Shasta Drive. An adult male victim in that incident was rushed to a hospital with life-threatening injuries but later died. That was San Jose’s 17th homicide of the year.

On Bendorf Drive, the suspect barricaded himself in a property. Shortly before 8:00am he was involved in a shooting again with police after pointing a firearm at authorities and was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Both incidents are still under investigation. Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Modesto Police Department or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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