A Modesto police officer made a quick retreat when he entered an outbuilding at an airport neighborhood residence Tuesday afternoon and saw a handgun pointed at him. “Thankfully, he (the gunman) didn’t shoot or the officer would be dead,” said Police Department spokeswoman Heather Graves.
The incident began about 1 p.m. when two officers responded to a report of a possible drug grow and children living in uninhabitable conditions at a home in the 700 block of Benson Avenue, Graves said Wednesday.
The officers got no answer and saw no movement at the main house, she said, but saw movement as they approached an outbuilding. A woman came out, said no one else was in the building and gave permission for the officers to enter, Graves said.
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One officer remained outside with the woman, 42-year-old Athena Garcia, while the other went into the outbuilding. When he entered, he was face-to-face with Raymond Bejaran Alvarez, 46, who had his gun trained on the officer, Graves said.
The officer quickly exited, and both officers ordered Alvarez to come out. He eventually did and dropped his weapon, Graves said, “and took off running; not very far, though.” He tripped and fell and was taken into custody without incident.
Garcia, who gave no warning that Alvarez was in the building or armed, was cited for obstructing a peace officer, Graves said.
The officers found no children at the residence and no indications any children were living there. Information on whether Alvarez and Garcia, who are a couple, have children was not immediately available.
Methamphetamine and marijuana were found at the scene, Graves said.
Alvarez was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail and faces charges including assault with a firearm upon a peace officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm with its serial number removed, being in possession of a controlled substance and being armed while in the commission of a felony.
He also was wanted on two warrants: one for auto theft, domestic violence and child endangerment, and the other for evading peace officers, domestic violence and driving under the influence.
Alvarez has been on Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers’ Most Wanted list since 2010. He was wanted by the county Sheriff’s Department on suspicion of spousal abuse, giving false information to a peace officer and driving under the influence, and by Turlock police on suspicion of vehicle theft.