MODESTO — Two men shot and killed over the weekend were members of gangs, authorities said Monday.
A third gang-related shooting was reported later Saturday, although nobody was injured in that one.
The incidents were not connected.
Authorities offered some details of the shootings, although they did not release names of the victims pending notification of their families.
In the first, a 24-year-old man died in a shooting near Lassen Avenue and Dallas Street in south Modesto. According to Stanislaus County sheriff's Sgt. Anthony Bejaran, the victim had been in an argument with a family member before the incident.
The family member left the scene, but the man, still apparently feeling argumentative, went outside, Bejaran said. The man, a Sureño gang member, stood on the street corner, yelling.
A white sport utility vehicle with at least two people inside approached, and talk of gangs began, with those in the SUV shouting "Norteño," Bejaran said. Shots were fired, leaving the 24-year-old dead and a 58-year-old female bystander wounded. She was expected to recover.
Investigators are looking for the white SUV, of unknown make and model, and the people who were in it.
The second fatal shooting occurred Saturday night at a quinceañera celebration on Briggs Avenue, Bejaran said.
The 21-year-old victim, a man from Patterson, had driven to the area with two other people when they encountered the party.
"They see a large group of people believed to be Norteños," Bejaran said. The man drove down the street, then turned the car around and returned to the area of the party.
"He yells out, 'Buster,' which is a derogatory term for northerners," Bejaran said. The term comes from southern Sureño gangs believing northern Norteños aren't real gang members, and instead are farm laborers, or sodbusters "Busters" for short. The Norteños responded with their gang affiliation, Bejaran said.
"The 21-year-old ... jumps out of the car, throws his arms up, shouts and starts running," Bejaran said, adding that the man was looking for a fight. He took out a gun and started waving it.
"Once he got to the driveway, he started shooting," Bejaran said. The crowd the man shot at included several young people and children. Someone pulled a gun and returned fire.
"We don't know if it was a male or a female," Bejaran said.
Bejaran said authorities would like to talk with the person who shot back at the victim, but he or she hasn't stepped forward.
The man's two friends ran up, retrieved him and the gun, took him back to the car and drove away. A Modesto police officer stopped them at the corner. The man was taken to a hospital, where he died.
An 18-year-old man at the party was shot and taken to a hospital, where he was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.
Three hours later in the same part of Modesto, officers from the Modesto Police Department's street gangs unit arrested three people on suspicion of committing a drive-by shooting.
Suspects in a white Honda Accord fired a 12-gauge shotgun at a group of people in front of a home in the 1900 block of Yellow Pine Drive, said police Sgt. Rick Applegate.
Bullets hit a car in front of the home, but no one was injured.
Gun found in car
Officers pulled over the Honda about a mile away at Paradise Road and Chicago Avenue. A shotgun was resting between the legs of the suspect in the front passenger seat, Applegate said.
The driver, 25-year-old Christi Gale Duran, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and conspiracy. The two passengers, Anthony Irigoyen, 21, and Adam Paul Torres, 21, were arrested on suspicion of the same charges, as well as probation violations and being felons in possession of a firearm. Applegate said the men are documented Norteño gang members.
Sheriff's officials ask anyone with information about Friday's shooting in south Modesto to call Detective Dave Hickman at (209) 525-7042. Anyone with information about Saturday's shooting in west Modesto can call Detective Darwin Hatfield at (209) 525-7100.
Tipsters can call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636; email through the Crime Stoppers website, www.stancrimetips.org; or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus a message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward.