SWAT teams surround Modesto home after deputy, another man gunned down
A sheriff’s deputy and another man trying to serve an eviction notice at an apartment complex were shot dead Thursday by a man who holed up and was surrounded by a battalion of SWAT teams.
The standoff, still under way late in the afternoon, began right after the shootings occurred about 11 a.m. Dozens of neighbors were evacuated to a nearby church.
A man who lives nearby and did not give his name said the deputy and the man with him apparently were drilling through the lock on the apartment door in the 2100 block of Chrysler Drive when the suspect fired at them from inside.
Yemen Zokari and Steven Gasterlum, who said they live two doors down from the suspect, heard shots and saw two men on the ground, one on his stomach and the other on his back closer.
“There was another officer that was kneeling on the side of the house while they were laying there,” Zokari said. “I think he was staying out of the way from being shot.
“We just felt so bad. We wanted to do something but you can’t. What can you do? It’s traumatizing to see them.”
“I heard a gunshot,” said another witness who did not give his name. “Then I heard four gunshots. Then I heard three gunshots, then another four.”
Dozens of emergency vehicles converged on the apartment complex. SWAT teams from Stanislaus and neighboring counties surrounded the apartment building and fired bean bags and then tear gas into the home.
More than 100 law officers from at least 15 agencies came to assist the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and Modesto police. Intermittent rain showers pelted law enforcement and those gathered behind the crime scene tape.
Stanislaus Sheriff Adam Christianson said officers were sure the suspect was inside the home they’d surrounded.
“We don’t know anything about him,” he said shortly after noon. “We don’t know what the motive is behind this shooting. All we know is that we have two people dead, and a deputy sheriff, one of my valued members of my team is dead.”
Christianson declined to release the names of the victims. He said he did not believe they returned fire.
The man who saw the men drilling the lock said he watched officers remove the body of a man wearing a white T-shirt and jeans and saw four officers carry out the body of the deputy.
The shootings occured at Whispering Woods, a development of two-story fourplex apartments formerly known as Prescott Estates. Officers evacuated the complex because they feared the suspect was armed with explosives that might be detonated.
“Despite the harsh reality of our economic climate and the drastic budget cuts and staffing cuts I’ve taken, there’s no excuse for this,” Christianson said. “I am overwhelming frustrated with the fact that we don’t have sufficient resources to protect the community.”
Christianson spoke as sirens wailed in the background. Traffic in northwest Modesto was disrupted for much of the day because so many streets were blocked by police cars and armored vehicles.
UPDATE - 6:30 p.m. The deputy killed this morning on Chrysler Drive in Modesto was Robert Paris, Sheriff Adam Christianson said.
----UPDATE - 5:15 p.m. As the standoff entered its seventh hour, SWAT teams from Stanislaus County, Modesto, Ceres and Merced County had the home surrounded. Two SWAT teams from San Joaquin County were on standby. The FBI and California Highway Patrol were also on scene.
About 5 p.m., Art De Werk, chief of Ceres police, said "the situation is stable and under control, so law enforcement is not going to rush in."SOURCE
I had to work late tonight so I haven't seen the news but it's my understanding that the man was facing foreclosure and had exhausted all avenues for relief.
Losing a home is a bitch - I know from first hand experience, losing mine a few months ago. No, it wasn't the "evil" bank's fault, it was my own miscalculations and a series of unexpected expenses that got me. It's too long a story for this post, but believe me when I say that dealing with your mortgage company can be extremely frustrating - they say they can help but it's a losing battle. I tried applying for programs within my mortgage company only to be turned down, finally giving up when the only option left was enrolling in a federal program. Fuck that, I ain't gonna talk shit about the feds and then go begging for their help.
But you get your hopes up only to have them shot down and this happens over and over again. It's an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least. Thank God I had Lisa to keep me calm.
So I can understand the man's frustration. I am not condoning his actions but I can sure understand what he was going through.