The man who was fatally shot by Modesto police on Sunday had been embroiled in a yearlong child custody dispute with his wife and had a court order to stay away from her when he showed up at her house with a gun, court records show.
Lonnie Ball, 39, led officers on a pursuit around the La Loma neighborhood after they responded to his wife’s home in the 2000 block of Lance Street after she reported that he was at her front door and armed with a gun. After the pursuit, police said, Ball returned to the home, parked in the driveway and exited the car with the gun in his hand. Officers opened fire, killing Ball.
The officers were identified Tuesday as Dave Wallace, a 23-year veteran of law enforcement; training officer Kalani Souza, a 14-year veteran; and his trainee, Edgar Villalpando, who is in his fifth month as a probationary officer.
Police have not released any other details regarding the incident, but court documents suggest a tumultuous relationship between Ball and his wife, who have two sons, ages 3 and 4.
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In January 2015, Ball’s wife petitioned the court for an emergency protective order. She claimed that he “is using drugs and is unstable with weapons in the house.” Ball and his wife were in classes for alcohol treatment.
In court documents, she said he used methamphetamine and had firearms. She said he called and harassed her repeatedly while she was at work.
The court ordered Ball to stay at least 100 yards away from his wife, move out of their home, undergo drug screening, attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and sell or store any firearms with a licensed dealer. The mother was given sole custody of the children, according to court documents.
In April, she filed for divorce, but by June the couple had reconciled and the case was closed.
Five months later, Ball filed for divorce “on the grounds of verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of my wife,” according to court documents.
Ball asserted that his wife had an affair and continued to maintain contact with the man.
In December, Ball’s wife requested another restraining order.
She described a three-day period in which he twice showed up at her home behaving “aggressive and manic” and demanding to see their children.
She described repeated harassing phone calls and texts while she was at work and one incident in which he tried to contact her while sitting in his car in front of her place of business.
She said Ball had a history of methamphetamine abuse and mental health issues for which he took prescription drugs.
“He told me on the phone that he decided not to take his medication ‘to get some clarity,’ ” Ball’s wife wrote in the restraining order request.
She said he was never physically violent but always carried a gun, which intimidated her.
A temporary restraining order was granted, but in January the court gave Ball custody of his sons every other weekend.
In March, Ball’s wife requested another restraining order and sole custody of the children. She said Ball’s harassing and manic behavior was escalating and described incidents in which he stole her ATM card and followed her to a friend’s house.
Three days before he was shot, Ball failed to appear in court in the case and a judge gave his wife sole custody of the children.
Ball’s friend Jessica Rose said he had his faults, but that he was a loving father, brother and son.
“His two boys were his pride and joy,” Rose said. “He was a family guy; his family meant the world to him.”
She’d known Ball since they were teenagers attending Johansen High School. She said he was a popular kid who loved basketball.
“The minute he came in the room with his smile, everybody just loved him,” Rose said. “We would all call him LB.”