Motive unclear in Ceres shooting

20-year-old Modesto victim had no criminal past or gang affiliation

January 12, 2010 

CERES — Police detectives on Tuesday night continued to look for a suspect in the shooting of a Modestan described as a "hardworking young man" with no criminal history or gang affiliation, a department spokesman said.

Amadeo Avalos, 20, was shot and killed Monday morning as he drove a pickup near East Whitmore Avenue and Morgan Road in Ceres, said Ceres police Sgt. Jose Berber.

No arrests have been made, but detectives were following up on leads and looking for more witnesses.

Avalos' loved ones created a makeshift memorial for him where his pickup came to a stop at the southeast corner of Whitmore and Morgan. Two crosses, four religious candles, flowers and his photo were left at the memorial site.

Berber said detectives were not sure if Avalos was the intended target or if he was hit by stray gunfire.

The motive behind the shooting was unclear to police, and detectives had not identified a suspect, Berber said. Officers did not release a physical description of a suspect.

Berber said the shooting occurred at a busy intersection on a Monday morning, so detectives were trying to determine whether another vehicle was involved in the shooting.

Detectives declined to release further details, fearing it would harm the investigation.

Gunfire rang out shortly after 11 a.m. when Avalos was shot as he drove a red Chevrolet pickup east on Whitmore.

A witness said she heard several muffled shots while inside a nearby home, came out and saw the pickup drifting through the intersection before it came to rest against the chain-link fence in front of her house.

Officers arrived and found Avalos slumped over in the driver's seat. He had been struck by multiple gunshots and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Berber said detectives found several shell casings on the street, but they declined to say whether they have identified the caliber of the gun used.

Investigators ask anyone with information about the shooting to call the Ceres Police Department at 538-5627 or Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters can e-mail tips through the Crime Stoppers Web site,

CrimeStoppers, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" and a message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at or 578-2394.

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