15-year-old from Turlock ID'd as 3rd suspect in Riverbank shooting

08/09/2010 8:52 PM

09/14/2010 12:26 AM

A 15-year-old from Turlock has been identified as the third suspect in the shooting death of a 21-year-old man outside an am-pm minimarket last week in Riverbank, authorities said late Monday night.

Jah-Kari Phyall joins Daniel Pantoja, 18, of Riverbank and Turlock Diaz, 14, of Turlock, as the three suspects believed to be involved in the shooting death of Chaz Bettencourt of Riverbank.

None of the suspects have been located, and are considered armed and dangerous, according to deputy Andrew Winter, a spokesman for the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.

Bettencourt was leaving the minimarket at the corner of Oakdale and Patterson roads with a friend early Thursday morning when a fight ensued with the three suspects, investigators believe.

The friend returned to the store to have a clerk call 9-1-1 when he heard shots ring out, Winter said. Bettencourt was hit multiple times, and later died at a Modesto hospital. The three suspects fled on foot.

In a new development on Monday night, a Sacramento TV station reported that Pantoja also is wanted for his suspected involvement in a beating that took place inside a Redding convenience store. ( Click here for the video )

According to KCRA-TV, Pantoja had earlier been identified as one of two people wanted in a gang-related felony assault on June 6 at a Redding Circle K store, the Redding Police Department told the station.

Pantoja is seen in the video wearing a white tank top and, along with another man, knocking over a man and beating him. He faces charges in Shasta County for assault with a deadly weapon and engaging in a gang, police said.

The TV station said Pantoja linked the surveillance video to his MySpace page.

“It disgusts me to watch this,” Michelle Bettencourt, Chaz’s mother, told KCRA.

The Riverbank shooting death is not believed to be gang-related, Winter said. However, he said Pantoja and Diaz have been tied to gangs.

On Monday night in Turlock, and as they did on Friday night at the homes of Pantoja and Diaz, investigators served a search warrant at the home of Phyall, who lives in the 300 block of South Avenue.

Phyall, who is described as black, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 120 pounds, was not home, Winter said.

Winter said Friday night that they have identified the shooter, but would not comment further. He said one other suspect was armed but did not fire a weapon.

All three have warrants for murder.

“It’s truly disturbing to see how these suspects attacked the victim like a pack of wolves,” said Lt. Mick Hardenbrook, who heads the sheriff’s department's homicide unit. “It’s easy to see how anybody could have fallen victim to these murderers.”

If there are any additional witnesses who have not been contacted, call Detective Jon McQueary at 525-7099 or Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters also can e-mail tips through the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.stancrimetips.org or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus a message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

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