Police are investigating a homicide Sunday night that they say involved a man shooting the victim and then driving away in the victim’s car – with the victim still inside.
The victim’s body was found early Monday. Police did not release the identity of the victim, but Suzanne Hoffman of Dos Palos said it was her son Kyle Hoffman, 24.
Police spokeswoman Heather Graves said officers were called to an apartment complex in the 1400 block of Lakewood Avenue to investigate reports of a shooting. The complex is near Orangeburg Avenue.
Witnesses told police the gunman took off in the victim’s car with the victim still inside. The car was described as a Dodge sedan.
“Several hours later, we found the victim deceased in his vehicle in an alleyway between Scenic and Devonshire (Drive),” Graves said. That area is near Scenic Drive and Rose Avenue, several blocks from the apartment complex.
The suspect, identified as Russell Kee, 43, of Modesto, was found in an alley several blocks away, near Vista and Brookvale drives. He was taken into custody and arrested. He remains at Stanislaus County Jail, where he was booked without bail on a murder charge.
A family member who did not want her name published said Kee worked hard for his children and a grandchild.
It’s the seventh homicide of the year in Modesto.
Graves said the investigation into the incident continues, but that preliminary information indicates the two men may have been involved in a love triangle.
Suzanne Hoffman said her son had known Russell Kee and his estranged wife for several years after playing basketball with their son in junior high. She said the Kees formerly lived in Dos Palos as well.
“This whole thing is just so shocking,” Suzanne Hoffman said.
She said she knew that her son and Kee’s wife had a relationship in the past, but he had not told her that the two were seeing each other again.
Kee’s wife had been investigated on suspicion of a sexual relationship with Kyle Hoffman when he was in junior high school, Suzanne Hoffman said.
Dos Palos Police Chief Barry Mann confirmed such an investigation took place. He said he did not want to elaborate until he speaks with detectives in Modesto, which he had not done Monday afternoon.
Mann said Kyle Hoffman had served as a police Explorer in Dos Palos for several years.
“This really hits home,” Mann said.
Suzanne Hoffman said her son was very close to his sister, Hala, 17.
“I thought the world of him,” Hala Hoffman said.
Suzanne Hoffman said Kyle had been working in security jobs and was expecting a baby with another woman this winter. His birthday was Sunday; he spent it at a car show in San Jose.
“Everybody liked him,” she said. “Even if he made you mad, he was a very charming and charismatic kind of guy.”