Victim in Ceres shooting ID'd as Modesto man

''It was awful,' says witness. 'I've never seen anyone die like that.'

January 11, 2010 

CERES -- A man was fatally shot Monday morning in what the police chief described as a "brazen" attack on one of the city's busiest streets.

The victim was identified Tuesday morning as Amadeo Avalos, 20, of Modesto, according to Stanislaus County Deputy Coroner Etta Johnson.

He was gunned down while driving his small truck east on Whitmore Avenue near Morgan Road. Police received calls about gunshots at 11:08 a.m. and found the victim slumped over in the driver's seat of a Chevrolet pickup at the southeast corner of Whitmore and Morgan, Sgt. Jose Berber said.

No arrests have been made. Police did not have information about the shooter or shooters, including a physical description or the direction of travel after the shooting.

Avilos-Castellanos was shot multiple times from the north side of Whitmore, Berber said. He would not speculate about whether the shooting was gang-related.

"It was very brazen," Police Chief Art de Werk said. "I certainly hope that it's not a sign of things to come."

The victim's truck came to rest against a low chain-link fence in front of the home of Linda Robins.

She said she heard several muffled shots while inside, came out and saw the pickup drifting through the intersection.

"He still had his hands on the steering wheel, but he kept throwing his head up and down, up and down," Robins said.

She said her boyfriend and other people called 911 after seeing that the driver of the pickup had been shot. Emergency medical personnel told her the victim died at the scene.

"It was awful," Robins said. "I have never seen anyone die like that."

A couple of hours later, a tow truck removed the vehicle, which had four small holes in the driver's window and a shattered window on the passenger side. The fence in the front yard had moderate damage.

Police set up detours at the intersection until the early afternoon.

People with information about the shooting should call Ceres police at 538-5627.

Bee Assistant City Editor Adam Ashton contributed to this report. Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at or 578-2385.

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