Turlock — A Christmas tradition on a quiet cul-de-sac here was disrupted over the weekend by wild weather and a wild shooting that remains under investigation.
Oxford Court has attracted hundreds of Christmas enthusiasts from around the county who visit the neighborhood known for its festive light displays and an elevated train on tracks that wrap around the street.
But the Christmas cheer was sidelined Saturday after a shooting at one of the homes on the court.
Turlock police provided only vague details of the incident and the chain of events that followed. The shooting occurred inside the home at 2645 Oxford Court about 1:30 p.m., said Lt. Nino Amirfar. Then, someone drove a vehicle from inside the garage through the closed garage door, and more shots were fired as the driver of the vehicle fled.
Amirfar said there was blood and other evidence inside the home indicating that someone had been shot, but no victim has been found and detectives have not made contact with the renters who lived there. No one has been arrested.
"I think small-town America does exist on Oxford Court, and we were all so shaken," resident Michelle Jaggers said of her close-knit neighborhood.
Her husband, Jeff Jaggers, witnessed part of the chaos when he saw what he said was a Hummer H2 tear through the garage door with a man clutching to the hood who fired more shots. Amirfar could not confirm that the car fleeing the scene was a Hummer and said witnesses have given different accounts of what kind of car it was and what happened.
Police arrived to find the garage door lying on the driveway and shell casings in front of the house. Detectives put up crime scene tape to prevent anyone from getting in. The tape was still up after 9 p.m. Saturday when Oxford residents shut down the "Santa Express" train for the night.
Visitors turned away
Michelle Jaggers said she was disappointed every time she saw a car drive up to the crime scene tape and then have to turn around.
"It happened on the busiest night of the year for our train and it was the last night for people to bring down their toys for Turlock Together," she said. "So, yeah, it was crappy."
Stormy weather kept the train from operating Sunday.
Residents first installed the display in 1998. Two neighbors who have since moved from the court hand-crafted the train and 700 feet of track that stand 7 feet above the ground.
Turntables on either end are rotated by windshield wiper motors, the train is driven by a Hot Wheels motor, and the tracks are energized by an electric golf cart charger.
"Basically, this is some Okie engineering," resident Rob Bolin said with a laugh.
He and Jeff Jaggers used a specialized lift to hoist the train onto its tracks Monday.
They hoped that the people who came to see the train over the weekend and were unable to would come again Monday night or tonight, the last night it will be operating this year.
The renters at the home where the shooting occurred, next door to Bolin's house, have not returned since the incident. Reportedly, they are being evicted, the Jaggerses said.
The landlord managed to get the garage door back in place and used Christmas wrapping paper to cover the damage.
If you didn't know what had happened there, you might think it was part of the court's decorations.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Turlock police Detective Cristina Magana at (209) 668-5550, ext. 6627.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter, @ModestoBeeCrime.