Coroner's office identifies Turlock shooting victim

Apartment manager: Didn't live there, likely was intended target

July 8, 2009 

BA Crime scene

Homicide scene at the Brentwood Apartments in Turlock. July 8, 2009 (BART AH YOU / bahyou@modbee.com)

UPDATE: The Stanislaus County coroner’s office this morning identified the man killed in a Turlock apartment complex as 29-year-old Rafael Ruiz.

Ruiz’s family was from the city of Huntington Park, a heavily Latino community in south central Los Angeles, and his driver’s license bore that address. Police have not determined whether Ruiz lived locally.

TURLOCK — The man found shot to death at an apartment complex was 28 years old with an out-of-town address on his driver's license, police said Wednesday.

But they did not rule out the possibility that the man lived at the Brentwood Apartments, where his body was found Tuesday night.

Police withheld the name of the victim until they could notify relatives, who live out of the area.

Sgt. Russ Holeman said police were interviewing one resident Wednesday afternoon but were "looking for others" who may have lived there.

A manager at the apartment complex said the victim was not a resident and probably was the intended target for the shooting.

"We have every reason to believe this was a targeted shooting and not a random act of violence," property manager Lacey Salas said Wednesday in a letter to residents.

Police received a 911 call at 6:51 p.m. Tuesday with the caller reporting hearing at least one gunshot and seeing several people leaving the Brentwood Apartments residence, Lt. Steve Williams said.

Officers found a man in the apartment with at least one gunshot wound, Williams said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

A neighbor at the complex, who declined to give his name, said a white woman in her 60s and her adult son moved into the apartment about a month ago.

He said he heard screaming from the apartment Tuesday night, which he said was common.

Police said no one was in the apartment except for the victim.

"This is a very safe area," the neighbor said, noting he's called police before to report a disturbance from the same family. "It doesn't happen around here. When they moved in, everything started."

Officers canvassed the area, looking for witnesses. Williams said police don't have a motive yet but detectives have basic, general information about the suspects.

The shooting occurred in a ground-floor apartment near the pool, according to residents, who said they saw people fleeing from the pool area after they heard the gunfire.

The sprawling apartment complex is just a few blocks from the Police Department. It borders East Hawkeye Avenue, North Denair Avenue and Wayside Drive.

Turlock police ask anyone with information about this homicide to call Detective Sergio Perez at 668-5550, ext. 6744, or CrimeStoppers at 521-4636.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at mbalassone@modbee.com or 578-2337.

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