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Man, 19, killed in shooting at motel

Police are trying to sort out what led to a shooting early Sunday outside a Modesto motel that claimed the life of 19-year-old Samuel Gray of Ceres and left four others wounded.

"Initial reports are that a dispute between two separate groups of people partying at the hotel caused tempers to flare," Modesto police Sgt. Craig Gund-lach said. "It is unclear at this time how many shooters were involved."

Authorities said none of the four wounded were believed to have suffered life-threatening injuries.

According to a police news release, a man who was shot in the head is expected to live; a 17-year-old and a 19-year-old were shot in the arm; and a 16-year-old was shot in the leg.

Police said "for safety reasons" they were withholding the names of those who were wounded in the fracas that erupted about 1:15 a.m. in the parking lot outside the Heritage Inn, 1525 McHenry Ave.

Gundlach did not elaborate, other than to say gang members might been have involved in the shooting.

The Heritage Inn parking lot,as well as the motel, remained cordoned off by yellow "crime-scene" tape until about 11:15 a.m. Sunday, some 10 hours after gunfire erupted.

During that time, hotel guests were asked to stay in their rooms as police officers went door-to-door in a search for information.

Investigators also controlled traffic moving in and out of the parking lot, shared by Denny's restaurant.

While Denny's remained open, access to the parking lot was blocked — reducing to a trickle the normally heavy Sunday-morning breakfast traffic at the restaurant.

Gundlach said officers Danny Gonzalez and Ben Brandvlod were patrolling McHenry Avenue on Sunday morning, near its intersection with Orangeburg Avenue, when they heard "numerous shots fired" near Denny's restaurant.

As they pulled into the parking lot shared by the motel and restaurant, Gundlach said, "they heard several more shots being fired."

The officers also saw 40 to 50people running toward them, Gundlach said.

Two of those in the crowd were wounded, Gundlach said, and Gonzalez and Brandvlod took them to an ambulance that had just arrived. Five more ambulances were dispatched to the scene.

Gundlach said a triage area was set up across McHenry Avenue from the restaurant and motel.

Within minutes, Gundlach continued, other officers — including Stanislaus County sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers — arrived at the motel to assist city police officers.

As the growing group of officers moved through the parking lot, they found Gray lying on a patch of grass near a stairwell toward the rear of the motel.

Gundlach said officers immediately began giving him cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. They continued with the CPR, Gund-lach said, until paramedics arrived but were unable to revive him.

Gray was pronounced dead at the scene.

Because of the large number of potential witnesses, Gundlach said it could take detectives time to sort out what happened.

Detectives ask anyone who might have witnessed the shootings or has information about what happened to contact the Police Department's homicide and robbery unit at 572-9500. Tipsters also may call Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Bee staff writer Michael G. Mooney can be reached at 578-2384 or