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Wildfire Threatens Tuolumne County Homes

Gaby Muro

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MOCCASIN – A quickly spreading wildfire forced evacuations from several communities near Highway 49 Thursday afternoon.

The “Moc Fire” was reported near the area of Highway 120 and Highway 49 shortly before 1:00pm. Initially, arriving fire crews reported the incident to be about three acres in size. By 7:45pm authorities reported the fire to have spread to about 1,700 acres.

The quick moving flames jumped Highway 49, consuming entire hillsides and forcing road closures and evacuations. At 3:41pm fire officials reported the fire to be moving East at critical speeds.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for several areas including Groveland and Pine Mountain Lake. An evacuation center was set up at the Mariposa Fairgrounds. By nightfall, caravans of vehicles towing trailers and RV’s could be seen fleeing the Coulterville area through Highway 132. Some vehicles were packed with belongings.

Authorities with the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office urged residents to not wait if they felt unsafe. Westbound Highway 120 was opened for evacuees, and the Sheriff’s Office said to exit the area through Yosemite National Park if people had to.

There was no word on containment of the fire early Friday morning.

Gaby Muro is a journalist specializing in local issues and breaking news. She holds two degrees from San Joaquin Delta College. In 2018, she was considered one of the top 40 journalism students in the United States and received a scholarship to cover international conflict news near the Israeli-Syrian Border for 10 Days. Some of her work as a student has been submitted to the Student Emmy Awards. She was crowned the 2019 Miss Merced County title holder through the Miss America Organization and competed for the title of Miss California, advocating for epilepsy awareness. She has been featured on Investigation Discovery, profiling local homicide cases. Gaby is a native of Stockton, California.

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Sonora Street Homicide Investigated

Carlos Rodriguez

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STOCKTON – Police investigated the shooting death of a 40 year old man on Sonora Street Sunday night.

At about 6:49pm police officers responded to the 2400 block of East Sonora Street for a report of a shooting. Arriving officers found a 40 year old man who had been shot. He was rushed to a hospital where he died.

Detectives responded to investigate the case. Police said there was no motive or suspect information as of Monday morning.

Anyone with information regarding this case can call investigators at (209) 937-8323 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Ceres Shooting Claims Life of Motorist

Carlos Rodriguez

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CERES – A shooting Thursday night killed a motorist, becoming the city’s second homicide investigation in two weeks.

At about 6:28pm officers responded to the area of Kay and Magnolia Streets for a vehicle collision where the motorist appeared shot. Arriving officers found the driver shot inside the vehicle, which had collided into a parked car just west of the intersection.

Officers pulled the driver out of the vehicle and began life-saving measures until medics arrived. He was transported to a hospital where he died. Authorities identified him as 26 year old Alexis Perez of Ceres.

Detectives responded to examine the scene and gather evidence. The vehicle, a white Honda Accord, had front end collision damage and airbags deployed.

Sergeant Vince Hooper with the Ceres Police Department said investigators were looking for any witnesses or anyone who may have noticed anything suspicious in the area. Sergeant Hooper said they had no information on a suspect Thursday night.

Investigators were working to determine if there may be any relation to last week’s shooting on Malik Avenue.

Anyone with information regarding this case can contact Detective Matthew Berlier at (209) 538-5616.

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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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