MODESTO -- Three of the four people slain in separate Modesto-area incidents this weekend are believed to have been killed in self-defense.
They include Daryl Chargualaf of Modesto, a 34-year-old police officer for the U.S. Department of Defense, who apparently was shot inadvertently by one of his police coworkers during a massive bar fight.
It was a wild weekend of mayhem in and around Modesto. By the time it was over, four people were dead three inside the city limit and one south of town and several others injured.
Investigations continue into all four slayings, and witnesses are being sought to sort out those responsible for all the shootings, stabbings and violence.
Here's what Modesto law enforcement is saying so far:
Chargualaf and another police officer from the Defense Logistics Agency in Tracy were socializing together late Saturday at O'Malley's Bar, 2200 Standiford Ave.
The off-duty officers got into an argument inside the bar with a group of people. By 1:30 a.m. Sunday, the altercation had turned into a physical fight in the parking lot.
Modesto police Lt. Rick Armendariz said that during the fight, one of the Department of Defense officers fired his handgun. The shooter's identity has not been revealed, but his bullets apparently killed Chargualaf and seriously wounded one of the men the two officers had been fighting. "It was a very chaotic scene," Armendariz said. "We believe there were more people involved in the physical altercation and possibly 20 to 30 witnesses to the fight."
The name of the second man who was shot has not been released. He reportedly remains hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
Armendariz said his department's "early preliminary investigation" indicates the shooter acted in self-defense, and he has not been charged with any crime. How he ended up shooting his fellow police officer has not been explained.
Modesto police are urging anyone who witnessed the argument in the bar or the fight in the parking lot to call them at (209) 572-9551.
Another man was shot to death Sunday in an unrelated crime south of Modesto. A Crows Landing parolee is being sought in connection with that homicide.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department said that shooting victim was a 35-year-old Latino man. He was found about 11 p.m. inside a car parked on the 700 block of Anthony Avenue near Latimer Avenue. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and his identity is being withheld pending notification of family members.
The Sheriff's Department has named Louis A. Amaya, 32, as "a person of interest" in the slaying, and authorities searched for him Monday. Amaya is described as a 5-foot-9-inch Latino male with black hair and brown eyes. He is on parole for criminal convictions, and his last address was in Crows Landing.
John Hewitt, 41, of Manteca also was killed in Modesto on Sunday. He was stabbed to death during a fight with a man and woman near their home on the 1000 block of Ferrari Drive.
Modesto police said preliminary investigation indicates Hewitt was stabbed in self-defense by the man, whose name has not been revealed.
Armendariz said Hewitt was armed with a weapon and he was waiting for the couple to arrive home about 1 a.m. Sunday. Hewitt and the couple had been in "an ongoing dispute," Armendariz said, and their argument escalated into a physical fight.
Police are not saying what weapon Hewitt had, but at some point, the Modesto man obtained a knife and stabbed Hewitt multiple times. Hewitt was taken to a hospital, where he later died.
The Modesto couple "are being treated as the victims" in this case, and Armendariz said both of them suffered blunt trauma injuries during the fight.
Christopher Hollis, 40, of Modesto was stabbed to death in a fight near his home on the 1400 block of Teresa Street about 4 p.m. Friday.
The Modesto man who stabbed him also is believed to have acted in self-defense, Armendariz said. That man's identity has not been revealed, but police said he was the victim and has not been charged with a crime.
Anyone with information about the Hollis, Hewitt or Chargualaf slayings is asked to call Modesto police at (209) 572-9551.
Anyone with information about Amaya or the shooting on Anthony Avenue should call the sheriff's department at (209) 552-2468.
To remain anonymous, witnesses also can report what they know to Crime Stoppers by calling (209) 521-4636.
Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2196.