Police searching for man who shot at Ceres officer

02/02/2011 8:29 AM

12/27/2011 8:26 PM

UPDATE 4:45 p.m.:Ceres police have suspended the search for the suspect who shot at a police officer this morning, according to Lt. Rick Collins, spokesman for the Ceres Police Department.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: Authorities are continuing to search north of Roeding Road in Ceres for the man they say fired two shots at a Ceres police officer early this morning.

Jorge Mendoza has an extensive criminal history that includes brandishing a firearm, death threats, first degree burglary, disorderly conduct and assault with a firearm, according to Lt. Rick Collins, spokesman for the Ceres Police Department.

“(The shooting) serves as a reminder of how aggressive people are getting and it’s a reminder for all law enforcement to really be vigilant,” Police Chief Art de Werk said this afternoon. “I think these are dangerous times for police.”

A Ceres police officer was shot at twice this morning and authorities are conducting a search for the suspect.

Police from multiple agencies are in the area of Roeding and Mitchell roads searching for Jorge Mendoza, 25, of Waterford. He's described as about about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and from 150 to 170 pounds, according to Lt. Rick Collins of the Ceres Police Department.

The shooting occurred just before 4 a.m. this morning in the parking lot of an mini-market on Service and Mitchell roads in Ceres.

Collins said an officer — later identified as Brian Peterson — was conducting a pat-down search of one of four people — two males and two females — when Mendoza got nervous. He said Peterson got Mendoza to the ground, but Mendoza got back up, pulled out a gun and shot twice at Peterson from close range.

Neither bullet hit the officer, although one struck his car. The officer did not return fire, Collins said.

Peterson took cover, and Mendoza fled east on foot.

The four people had been in a red, 1987 chevy pickup, which police had towed away.

It's not known yet why Peterson was conducting a search. The other three people were detained and are at the Ceres Police Department being questioned, Collins said.

Mendoza, who reportedly is wearing a black jacket, is considered armed and dangerous. His black and white beanie was recovered at the scene.

Along with Ceres police, among the agencies involved in the search — which was continuing at 11:45 this morning and included a wide area near Mitchell, Roeding, East Service, Moore and McGee roads — are the Modesto Police Department, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, Turlock Police Department and the California Highway Patrol.

Nearby Whitmore Charter School on Don Pedro Road and the children's center at Ceres Christian Church on Roeding did not open today because of the activity.

View Ceres shooting in a larger map

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