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January 5, 2014

Man dead, two others injured after Modesto standoff (with video)

After a six-hour standoff with a man suspected of shooting two people early Sunday morning, Modesto police found him dead inside the home where the shooting occurred in west Modesto. The man died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, said Sgt. Garrett Crawford.

After a six-hour standoff with a man suspected of shooting two people early Sunday morning, police found him dead in the west Modesto home where the shooting occurred.

The man, identified as 30-year-old Victor Salazar Ramirez, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. Both the victims remain hospitalized. One is in serious condition and the other is stable.

Modesto police officers were dispatched to the 1100 block of Cannes Avenue just after midnight Sunday. Sgt. Garrett Crawford said dispatchers could hear gunfire when a woman inside the home called 911.

A number of people who had been inside at the time of the shooting, including a man who had been shot once, were outside when police arrived, said police spokeswoman Heather Graves.

The suspect had barricaded himself inside the home, and a woman who had been shot multiple times also was still inside.

Neighbor Ariana Constantino said the suspect and the female victim were married and lived at the home. She said they have four or five children ranging in age from toddlers to early teens, and at the time of the incident there were also a handful of other people at the home.

A critical incident team, including special weapons and tactics officers and trained negotiators, was sent to the scene. Before they assembled, several officers carrying ballistic shields and using flash-bang grenades to distract Ramirez entered the home and rescued the woman, Crawford said.

Constantino said she heard gunshots and that’s when an officer in a patrol car rammed a wrought-iron gate that borders the front of the home. It took several attempts, she said, before his car was on the lawn; then he lined up with six other officers behind the car.

“They went in seven in a line and when they came out they were dragging her out through the front door,” she said. “(The officers) rushed in, threw the flash-bang and were in and out in less than a minute.”

Constantino said the woman was crying and saying she couldn’t walk because she had been shot in the leg.

“If they hadn’t rushed in ... I think he definitely would have killed her,” she said. “Since he shot himself, he had nothing to lose. He was definitely intoxicated.”

Officers used loudspeakers to try to talk to Ramirez for several hours. They encouraged him to surrender and to call Modesto police so that he could have a private conversation with officers, said neighbor Michelle Jaramill.

It’s unclear when Ramirez died, but Jaramill said she never heard any response from him, nor saw movement in his home.

Officers remained positioned around the home with guns drawn. Constantino said several SWAT team members told her to turn off all her lights and then climbed on top of her roof for a better vantage point. Her home is directly across the street from Ramirez’s.

About 5 a.m., a robot with a camera was sent inside the home and captured images of the suspect, who appeared to be dead.

Officers entered the home about 6 a.m. and confirmed Ramirez was dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The names and ages of the victims were not released.

Police would not say what motivated the incident but neighbors said they heard arguing prior to the shooting.

Officers and identification technicians remained until early Sunday afternoon processing the scene. Several family members were also present, but declined to comment.

Nearly every window in the home was shattered, and the wrought iron fence in front was gnarled on either end. The wooden fence on the side yard also had been torn down, mowed over by the SWAT truck, according to neighbors.

Despite a sleepless night, many neighbors were outside Sunday playing with their children or doing yardwork and watching as the last of the police cars left.

“It was a pretty intense, crazy night,” Constantino said.

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