MODESTO — Detectives on Friday morning arrested a Hollister man police say pulled a gun during a fight outside a north Modesto bar in late July, opened fire and inadvertently shot to death his co-worker, an off-duty U.S. Department of Defense police officer.
Robert Anthony Moreno, 30, was arrested in Hollister and booked at the Stanislaus County Jail on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, according to sheriff's custody records. He was being held without bail Friday night.
Modesto resident Daryl Chargualaf died from injuries he suffered in the shooting, which occurred about 1:40 a.m. July 22 outside O'Malley's Bar in a shopping center at Standiford Avenue and Prescott Road.
Modesto police officers responded to a report of a shooting and found two men with gunshot wounds amid a large, chaotic crime scene in the parking lot outside the bar. Both men were taken by ambulance to local hospitals.
Chargualaf, 34, died at the hospital. The other man suffered wounds that were not life-threatening and later was released from the hospital. Police have not released the name of the man who survived.
Chargualaf, also known as "Chug" to his friends, was a 10-year Air Force veteran stationed at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. He was a member of the base's military police.
In February, Chargualaf began working at a Defense Logistics Agency site in Tracy, which is part of the government's largest logistics combat support agency. It provides supplies, uniforms and food to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and other federal agencies.
Chargualaf's mother, Annie Runner, declined to comment about Moreno's arrest when The Bee contacted her Friday at her family's home in Oak Harbor, Wash.
Attempts by The Bee to reach Moreno's family Friday afternoon were not successful.
Suspect spoke to officers at scene
Modesto police Lt. Rick Armendariz said Moreno remained at the crime scene when police arrived and identified himself to investigators as the person who fired the shots. Moreno said he was as an off-duty U.S. Department of Defense police officer. He also worked in Tracy.
Armendariz said Moreno and Chargualaf were together inside the bar when they got into an argument with another group. The dispute escalated in the parking lot, and a fight ensued between the two groups.
Moreno pulled his handgun during the fight and fired the weapon several times, hitting Chargualaf and the other man, Armendariz said. Police at the time believed there were others involved in the confrontation, to which there were about 20 to 30 witnesses.
Investigators gathered information that indicates Moreno was "criminally culpable" in the death of Chargualaf and the injuries to the other man, Armendariz said. The investigators then obtained an arrest warrant for Moreno, who was taken into custody without incident.
Police investigators have handed over the case to the Stanislaus County district attorney's office. Moreno won't be arraigned in Stanislaus County Superior Court until at least Tuesday because court is closed Monday for Columbus Day.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2394.