March 13, 2009

Turlock home where body found held guns, drugs

The crime scene at 440 Lewis St. reads like a list of the nation's social ills.

TURLOCK — The crime scene at 440 Lewis St. reads like a list of the nation's social ills.

A man found shot to death in a foreclosed house. A stash of drugs. A cache of firearms.

Christmas lights and a wreath still were on the garage, but whoever had been living in that Lewis Street house recently was nowhere to be found Thursday, police said.

Isaias Fierros, 37, of Winton was found early Tuesday morning in the house after two 911 calls came in, police said. Sgt. Russ Holeman said one was from a pay phone a few blocks from the house. The caller spoke broken English and was hard to understand, he said. The second came from another pay phone four miles away, giving police enough detail to lead them to the house, Holeman said.

The house was empty when police discovered Fierros' body. Police do not believe Fierros was alone and are searching for the people who lived there. There is no evidence of gang involvement or forced entry to the house, police said.

"It's intriguing," Holeman said. "We're all curious to get the answers on what happened on this."

A man walking along Lewis Street on Thursday afternoon said he would often see more than a dozen men in the house's garage, drinking beer and playing cards starting at 2 p.m. Many had tool belts in their truck beds as if they worked construction. But he would also see the men peeling $100 bills from their wallets.

"It's going to be a tough one to solve," said the man, who declined to give his name. "There were so many people in and out, I couldn't tell you who lived there."

Police met with about 40 residents Wednesday night at nearby Wakefield Elementary School.

Some think of the neighborhood where the shooting took place as "an oasis" from the trouble that happens on the other side of the school.

"We wanted to ensure them that this did not appear to be a random act of violence," Holeman said. "We are pretty confident that their safety is not in jeopardy."

There have been two other homicide victims in Turlock this year: Kelly Story, 40, on Jan. 31; and Anthony Simmons, 32, on Feb. 16.

Authorities ask anyone with information about this case to call Detective Mike Parmley at 668-5550, ext. 6793, or Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Crime Stopper tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at or 578-2337.

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