Tips to gang task force lead to arrest of Modesto man in Modesto murder

11/05/2008 12:40 AM

11/05/2008 2:37 PM

A tip to a crime hot line led authorities to capture one of three suspects in the shooting death of 35-year-old Victor Gaona after an apparent gang-related fight between two groups in south Modesto in September. Members of the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force arrested Alex Mares, 21, of Modesto on suspicion of murder and attempted murder with a gang enhancement to his charges.

The task force used information from a tipster who called the Crime Stoppers hot line to find Mares about 3:30 p.m. Saturday in a Manteca home, said Sgt. Brian Findlen, a Modesto police spokesman. Manteca police assisted the task force and took Mares into custody.

Mares was being held at the San Joaquin County Jail on Tuesday night, where he awaits an extradition hearing. Javier Gomez, 22, and Armando Pulido, 25, both of Modesto, are the other two suspects in Gaona's death.

The shooting occurred about 11:15 p.m. on Sept. 3 near Ustick Road and Dezzani Lane, just south of West Hatch Road. Police ask anyone with information on the whereabouts of Gomez and Pulido to call Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters can e-mail tips through the Crime Stoppers Web site,, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus your message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

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