Three removed from Mexico-bound charter bus in Delhi for questioning in Modesto homicide

01/24/2011 11:29 AM

01/25/2011 6:04 AM

DELHI — Three people were pulled off a charter bus Monday morning here and brought to the Modesto Police Department for questioning in the city's first homicide of the year.

A department spokesman said Monday evening it was too soon to draw any conclusions about the bus passengers' roles in Friday's fatal shooting near Orville Wright Elementary School in the airport neighborhood.

"At this point, detectives still are sorting through to determine what, if any, involvement they may have," Sgt. Rick Armendariz said, adding that the people detained for questioning are considered persons of interest and not suspects.

Armendariz identified Friday's shooting victim as Modesto resident Juvenal Rodriguez, 19.

Armendariz said detectives believe the shooting was gang-related.

The California Highway Patrol pulled over the charter bus about 11 a.m. in Delhi, about 20 miles south of Modesto, a CHP official said. The bus was southbound on Highway 99.

Unmarked Ceres police cars had been following the charter bus at the request of Modesto police, and Ceres police asked the CHP to make the traffic stop.

Ceres police Sgt. Patrick Sullivan said his agency had received a request from Modesto police Monday morning to find and stop the bus, which had just left Modesto.

Sullivan said the charter bus travels from the Mexico-California border along the West Coast to Washington and back.

He said eight passengers were on board, and Ceres officers detained three for Modesto police.

He said he did not know the destinations of the three people who were detained and brought to the Modesto Police Department for questioning.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. The tip can be anonymous.

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