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April 4, 2014

Homicide suspect identified; investigation continues

Authorities on Friday identified the suspect arrested in the shooting death of another man Thursday, and said investigators were still trying to determine what, if any, connection the two had. Police arrested Joshua Alexander Stewart, 24, after the incident, which occurred at 11:14 a.m. on Leonard Avenue near Modesto Junior College.

Authorities on Friday identified a suspect arrested in the shooting death of a man Thursday and said investigators still were trying to determine what, if any, connection the two had.

Police arrested Joshua Alexander Stewart, 24, after the incident, which occurred at 11:14 a.m. on Leonard Avenue near Modesto Junior College. They found Kirk Lund, 51, in the road, suffering from a gunshot wound.

Stewart was booked at the Stanislaus County jail on charges including homicide, robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is being held without bail and is scheduled to appear Monday in Stanislaus Superior Court.

Officers arrested Stewart after responding to a report of a shooting in the 1300 block of Leonard. Witnesses provided a description of the suspect; officers saw a man matching that description walking away from the area and followed him. Stewart reportedly ran around a corner and down Tully Road, throwing a gun onto the roof of a convenience store at Tully and Coldwell avenues before police captured him.

On Friday, Sgt. Ivan Valencia said investigators were trying to determine the motive. “We still haven't figured that out,” Valencia said. “We have witnesses from when the homicide occurred to his capture. ... Before that, nobody can really say what took place.”

Valencia said detectives had not determined whether Stewart intended to rob Lund, but they haven’t ruled that out.

“We still want to see if there was a prior connection between the two,” Valencia said.

Lund worked as a handyman for a real estate company that owns an apartment complex in the area. Stewart lived in a different complex a couple of addresses down the street. Stewart, who has a lengthy criminal history, did have past associations with a criminal street gang, Valencia said. “But we don’t believe this was a gang-motivated crime at this point.”

As for Lund, Valencia said investigators have not determined what might have made him a target. “Everybody says this maintenance worker was a good guy.”

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