MODESTO — Modesto police on Monday apprehended a man wanted for questioning by the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department in connection with a homicide last week. Deputies later determined the man, identified as David Hodge, was not a suspect in the shooting, and they released the names of two people they are looking for as "persons of interest."
A man who was with Hodge on Monday ran inside a home across the street from Eisenhut Elementary School in northwest Modesto, which was put on lockdown for about half an hour before the man surrendered.
The incident began about 1:30 p.m., when police officers on burglary patrol near Wilmer Circle and Sheldon Drive spotted Hodge and Dominic Britt, according to police Lt. Rick Armendariz. Hodge was detained immediately. Sheriff's homicide detectives had been looking for him, to talk about the shooting death Jan. 2 of 17-year-old Marty Kent.
Britt, 22, ran inside a home in the 3200 block of Wilmer. Police surrounded the house and ordered Eisenhut Elementary on lockdown, Armendariz said. About 2:30 p.m., Britt emerged from the house and surrendered without further incident. He was found to have four felony warrants for auto theft and drug and weapons charges.
Hodge was released to the Sheriff's Department for questioning. Sheriff's Sgt. Anthony Bejaran said later Monday that investigators determined he was just a witness in the Kent case and they planned to let him go.
Kent was shot to death in front of his home in the 900 block of Leon Avenue. Bejaran said investigators are looking for Ryan Joseph Melton, 28, and Demaris Hunter, 33, both of Modesto, in connection with the homicide.
"We want to talk to them," Bejaran said. Investigators have not said whether Melton and Hunter are suspects in Kent's shooting.
In the meantime, Kent's family and friends held a car wash Monday to help the family with funeral expenses. The family also has set up an online fund.
Investigators ask anyone with information on the Kent homicide to contact Detective Jon McQueary at (209) 525-7099. Callers can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Tipsters can email tips at www.modestopolice.com/ CrimeStoppers, or text them to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus the message and be eligible for a reward
On the Net: www.youcaring.com/ memorial-fundraiser/ Marty-T-Smallwood-Kent/38354.