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Arrests relieve victim's family

The arrests of three people in connection with the murder of convenience store clerk Randeep Singh has alleviated some of his family's pain.

But they still are dealing with grief two months after the shooting death occurred during a botched robbery at the family's convenience store just north of Modesto.

"We're still in shock," said the victim's uncle, Mohinder Bhatti. "But we're happy to see they finally made some arrests. They finally brought those people to justice."

Thursday night, Stanislaus County sheriff's investigators arrested Ronnie Cavazos, 23, and David Gonzalez, 21, both of Modesto, along with a 15-year-old Ceres boy.

Cavazos and Gonzalez were booked at the Stanislaus County Jail on suspicion of murder and robbery with gang enhancements, said deputy Royjindar Singh, a sheriff's spokesman.

The Ceres teenager was booked at Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall on the same charges, Singh said. Officials did not release the boy's name because he is a minor.

Bhatti called the sheriff's spokesman weekly to find out if any arrests had been made. He said he grew frustrated with investigators, but he was grateful they didn't respond the same way.

"They never got angry with me," Bhatti said. "They understood that I had lost a loved one. He was my nephew and my son. I raised him as my own son since he was 5 years old after his father died."

He said he was proud to see his nephew move to the United States and join the family business working as a store clerk.

On Feb. 16 at 1:35 a.m., two masked men entered the Quik Stop market and gas station at 4201 Sisk Road and tried to rob the store, officials said.

They could not open the cash register and stole nothing. As they left the store, one of the men shot and killed 29-year-old Singh, officials said. The victim was not related to the sheriff's spokesman.

Detective Mick Hardenbrook identified Cavazos as the suspected shooter.

He would not say whether detectives had recovered the murder weapon. Officials said they could not discuss what roles Gonzalez and the juvenile are suspected of having in the murder.

No further information on the case was available Saturday.

The Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office has instructed sheriff's officials not to make any further comments on the investigation.

"Conceivably, it's going to end up in the courtroom, and that's where we need to keep it," said John Goold, spokesman for the district attorney's office.

Goold said police reports would be reviewed Monday morning and an arraignment could follow at 1:30 p.m.

Bhatti and the rest of his family plan to watch the court proceedings closely.

"Now we just hope to get justice," Bhatti said. "We don't want other families to suffer the kind of grief we have."

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone contributed to this report.

To comment, click on the link with this story at www.modbee.com. Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or 578-2394.

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