Man fatally shot outside Modesto bar in early-morning altercation

kvaline@modbee.comAugust 26, 2012 

— A man was fatally shot outside a north Modesto bar early Sunday after an altercation with at least one other person, police reported.

Police said the 39-year-old man — whose name was not released — died several hours later at Doctors Medical Center, said Lt. Craig Gundlach, who added that officers believe the man was a Modesto resident.

The shooting took place about 12:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the White Elephant Lounge, which is in a shopping plaza at Standiford Avenue and Carver Road. Police said the man was driven to Doctors Medical Center before officers arrived.

Detective Steven Stanfield said in a news release that detectives are trying to determine what caused the parking lot altercation and the motive in the shooting.

White Elephant owner Bikramjit Sandhu said the shooting was not connected to his business. He added that he reviewed security tapes with police from Saturday night and early Sunday, and he said they did not reveal any problems.

He said the shooting victim was not a White Elephant customer.

Sandhu said his doorman was sitting outside with a couple of patrons while several other patrons gathered nearby to smoke when they heard gunfire.

"There was no yelling, no fight, and then suddenly three shots were fired and everyone laid down on the ground," Sandhu said, based on his conversations with his doorman and bartender. "My bartender ran out and told everyone to get inside, and she locked the doors."

Sandhu said the bartender called 911 and then called him.

He said there were about two dozen customers in the White Elephant during the shooting, but all but a few had left by the time officers arrived.

This is the second fatal shooting near a Modesto bar in about a month.

On July 22, Modesto resident Daryl Chargualaf, an off-duty Department of Defense police officer, was shot inadvertently by one of his co-workers during a fight outside O'Malley's Bar, also on Standiford and less than a half-mile from the White Elephant.

Police have said Chargualaf, 34, and another off-duty police officer from the Defense Logistics Agency in Tracy were socializing at O'Malley's when they got into an argument inside the bar with a group of people. The altercation turned into a fight in the parking lot.

Police have not released the name of the second off-duty officer.

Sandhu has owned the White Elephant since April when he acquired it from his father, who had owned the bar since 2004, according to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control's Web site.

Police ask anyone with information regarding this shooting to call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 or Detective Ra Pouv at (209) 572-9826.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at or (209) 578-2316.

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