Police fatally shot a man they say was armed with a loaded handgun early Sunday after an apparent domestic violence incident in east Modesto, the second officer-involved shooting of the year for the city.
Modesto police say the incident started at a home in the 2000 block of Lance Street in the La Loma neighborhood. Police say a woman at the home called 911 about 6:40 a.m. to report that Lonnie Ball, 39, was at her door and armed with a gun. Police say Ball fled in his pickup truck as officers arrived. Officers pursued Ball along several streets, and the chase ended with Ball stopping his pickup in the driveway of the woman’s home.
A Police Department news release states Ball got out of the truck with a handgun. Department spokeswoman Heather Graves could not say whether Ball fired at officers because the investigation is in the early stages, but the news release said authorities recovered a loaded handgun. She said Ball was taken to a hospital, where he died of his injuries.
Graves said three officers were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard in officer-involved shootings, while this shooting is investigated. She said she expects the department will release the officers’ names this week.
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Graves said the man and woman knew each other but could not elaborate on their relationship. “At this time,” she said, “we believe some sort of domestic dispute was involved in this incident.”
Neighbors said the two had been a couple, perhaps married, and had two young children but added that they had not seen Ball much recently. The news release said the woman had “a valid stay-away order prohibiting the suspect from contacting her.”
A distraught Tony Ball, who is Ball’s cousin, said this: “Lonnie loved his kids. That’s it. That’s all I’m going to say.” Other family members could not be reached for comment or declined to comment.
Lance Street resident Tiffany Meyer said she knows Ball and the woman and said Ball parked his pickup truck about 5 a.m. at her home and then pounded on her door. She said he appeared “pretty psychotic” and said he wanted to see his kids. She said he told her he would sit in his truck and wait until the woman and his children were up. She said he pounded on her door a second time to apologize for pounding on the door the first time.
She said he eventually got into his truck and drove up and down the street, with the tires screeching.
Randy Thomas, who lives on Post Oak Drive near where the shooting took place, said he heard sirens and saw police vehicles fly down Phoenix Avenue before turning right onto Lance Street and stopping at the house with a pickup truck in the driveway. Thomas said he heard one shot, a brief pause, and then a half dozen more. He said he saw what appeared to be officers performing CPR on someone before an ambulance arrived.
Other neighbors described hearing officers yelling: “friendlies inside” the house, “get down on the ground” and “start CPR, start CPR.” They also reported hearing several gunshots.
The other officer-involved shooting this year occurred Feb. 14, when an officer shot a man after he ran from a traffic stop and pulled a gun, according to a February news release. Police reported in late February that the man who was shot, Sherman August, was then in critical but stable condition at a hospital.
Officers with the department’s street gang unit pulled the car over on Prescott Road near Plaza Parkway. The police have not said why officers stopped the car. Police have said August was a passenger in the car.
Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316