6 arrested in 'brazen' Ceres slaying of Modesto man

January 19, 2010 

CERES — Six people were arrested Tuesday in the slaying of a 20-year-old man who was gunned down last week on one of the city's busiest streets.

Police Chief Art de Werk said Modesto resident Amadeo Avalos was targeted by his killers but declined to give a motive in the Jan. 11 shooting.

Officers served search warrants at three homes in Modesto and one in Ceres on Tuesday and arrested six suspects, four of whom they believe are a husband and wife and their two adult children.

Ceres police have described Avalos as a "hard-working young man" with no criminal record or gang affiliation. He was shot and killed about 11 a.m. while driving his truck east on Whitmore Avenue near Morgan Road.

"This victim was targeted," de Werk said. "That may seem odd because we are describing him as a decent person." De Werk said investigators can't say more now on the crime he descrbed the day it happened as "very brazen."

"The (district attorney's) office is really adamant that we keep the details quiet until they are ready to release them," he said. "We are still in a full investigative mode."

Police said these suspects were arrested:

• Primitivo Guizar, 18, of Modesto on suspicion of homicide and the special circumstance of lying in wait, which is similar to an ambush

• Enrique Valadez, 19, of Modesto on suspicion of homicide and the special circumstance of lying in wait

• Lucila Sanchez, 32, of Ceres on suspicion of accessory to a felony

• Luis Sanchez, 64, of Modesto on suspicion of accessory to a felony

• Rosa Sanchez, 54, of Modesto on suspicion of accessory to a felony

• Heliberto Sanchez, 26, of Modesto on suspicion of accessory to a felony

De Werk said police believe Luis and Rosa Sanchez are married and Lucila and Heliberto Sanchez are their children. Four of the six suspects had been booked at the Stanislaus County Jail as of early Tuesday evening. The remaining two were expected to be booked later in the evening.

Police found Avalos slumped over in the driver's seat of the Chevrolet pickup he was driving at the corner of Whitmore and Morgan.

His family could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force, Stanislaus County district attorney's office investigators, the Sheriff's Department gang unit and Modesto police helped Ceres police serve the search warrants.

Investigators ask anyone with information on this case to call Detective Keith Griebel at 538-5627.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or 578-2316.

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