Ceres has 3 Sunday morning shootings

Brings confirmed tally to 6 in area, including Modesto

May 5, 2009 

Add Ceres to the weekend's toll of shootings.

On Tuesday that city's Police Department said three shootings occurred within three hours and a few blocks from each other early Sunday. No one was injured, and police had not identified any suspects.

This is in addition to the weekend shootings reported earlier by Modesto police and the Sheriff's Department. In all, the three agencies have reported six shootings within five hours.

Investigators Tuesday continued to try to identify suspects and piece together what happened.

Four people were injured in the six shootings, which occurred between 11:30 p.m. Saturday and 3:45 a.m. Sunday.

One of the shootings is considered gang-related. Investigators were looking into possible gang involvement in the others.

Authorities said there was no evidence that links the shootings.

'Decaying society'

"I chalk it up to a decaying society," said Mike Borges, deputy chief for Ceres police. "We take away three to four guns a week from (people) we're stopping, some of them during regular traffic stops.As of late, we've seen an increase in weapons-related offenses."

The first shooting in Ceres occurred about 1:30 a.m. Sunday at a home in the 3300 block of Castiglione Way, just south of East Hackett Road.

Borges said someone fired shots at the home. He said officers found two bullet holes at the home, along with shell casings in the street.

The second shooting in Ceres occurred about 3:40 a.m. around the corner in the 1500 block of East Hackett Road, where officers found shell casings in the street.

Just a few minutes after the second shooting, officers responded to a report of a drive-by shooting at a home in the 1600 block of Sungate Drive.

Borges said the residents were having a house party and some uninvited people arrived. After the party crashers left, they drove past the house in two vehicles.

Someone wearing a black and yellow Pittsburgh Steelers jersey fired three to five shots from a dark-colored Honda or Lexus car, Borges said. The car fled with a dark-colored pickup.

Between Friday and Sunday, Modesto police received 22 reports of shots fired. Five shootings had a victim or property damage, said police spokesman Sgt. Brian Findlen.

In the 17 other reports, officers could not find a victim or evidence that a shooting occurred. That doesn't mean they were not legitimate calls, Findlen said.

A 13-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy were shot about 11:30 p.m. Saturday while they were riding in a white four-door vehicle near Vicksburg Street and Rouse Avenue in southwest Modesto.

Injured teens improving

He said Tuesday the 13-year-old remained in critical condition but was showing signs of improvement. The 16-year-old remained hospitalized Tuesday, but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, Findlen said.

Officers responded about 3 a.m. Sunday to a large fight with shots fired at Rouse and Sutter avenues in Modesto. Two people were arrested in that incident.

Stanislaus County sheriff's detectives Tuesday were speaking with people who might have information about a shooting that occurred about 1:30 a.m. behind the Seventh Street auction yard at Pecos Avenue and Main Street just south of Modesto, said sheriff's spokesman deputy Royjindar Singh.

Deputies found one victim, a 21-year-old Modesto man, walking around. They found the second victim, a 24-year-old Modesto man, inside a pickup that caught fire as they approached. The fire was the result of a mechanical problem, Singh said.

Singh said Tuesday the 21-year-old had been released from the hospital and the 24-year-old remained in critical condition. Detectives believe the shooting was gang-related.

Authorities ask anyone with information about these shootings to call Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or 578-2394.

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