Modesto police still looking for killer of man shot Sunday night

June 29, 2010 

A man sitting in a car was shot to death late Sunday night in west Modesto, police said.

About 11:30 p.m., officers responded to reports of shots fired and a possible victim in a red car in the 1600 block of Vicksburg Street, just south of Paradise Road. Officers found Juan Gabriel Barajas, 32, of Modesto slumped over in the driver's seat of the car.

He suffered at least one gunshot wound, police said. It is the eighth homicide in Modesto this year.

An autopsy was performed Monday, and police released the victim's identity after notifying Barajas' family.

People who lived next to the shooting scene said they didn't know Barajas. However, he was a regular customer at a market on Paradise Road.

An employee said he came in about four days a week when not working as a house painter. He chatted with people in the store, often talking with pride about his 5-year-old son.

"Everyone knew him here," said Alma Perez, an employee of the Carniceria Michoacan store. "He was friendly. ... We don't understand why this happened to him."

Barajas' relatives declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation but confirmed he had a son who is living with the mother.

Modesto police Sgt. Rick Armendariz said detectives are following up on leads and evidence gathered at the scene during the early morning hours Monday.

Anyone with information may call Detective Jon Evers at 652-1995 or Crime Stoppers toll free at 209-521-4636. People calling Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward. Tipsters also can send a text message to Crime Stoppers at 274637.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at kcarlson@modbee.com or 578-2321.

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