March 11, 2008

Modesto man killed at home

A 55-year-old man was shot and killed late Sunday by someone who knocked on the front door of his east Modesto home, police said.

Jose Ceja, a woman and others were in the house in the 500 block of Navarre Place about 11:15 p.m. He answered the knock at the door to find at least one man standing there, police spokesman Sgt. Craig Gundlach said. What happened next was not clear.

"We're not sure whether there were any words exchanged," he said. "We don't know what the motive was or what caused the suspect to shoot the victim. That is all under investigation."

The shooter fled immediately after the attack.

The woman, whom police described as the dead man's roommate, was unhurt. Police said she is 38 but did not release her name for her safety.

Several other people in the house also were uninjured, Gundlach said, identifying them as the woman's two sons, ages 10 and 13, and a 22-year-old man.

Police went to the house because they had received calls from people who heard shots and a 911 hang-up from the house, Gundlach said. He said Ceja was rushed to Memorial Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Detectives worked the case through the night. They were still on the scene midmorning and had carried from the house evidence contained in brown paper bags.

Police were working on a description of the assailant.

The killing Sunday was Modesto's second homicide of the year, Gundlach said.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 521-4636. Callers to

CrimeStoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Bee staff writer Inga Miller can be reached at imiller@modbee.com or 578-2324.

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