Detectives are looking for leads in the death of a 40-year-old man who was found shot early Saturday in an alley behind a thrift store along McHenry Avenue in central Modesto, a police spokesman said.
Authorities tentatively had identified the Modesto man Saturday evening but did not release his name because the Stanislaus County coroner's office had not notified his family, said Modesto police Sgt. Rick Armendariz.
It is the second homicide in Modesto this year and the fourth in the county.
The detectives did not have any information about a suspect.
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"We don't know what the motive might be," Armendariz said. "We don't have too many leads at this time."
Shortly before 1:30 a.m., Modesto police received a call reporting a man was seen on the ground in the alley behind the Hope Chest thrift store in the 1200 block of McHenry Avenue, between Orangeburg and Roseburg avenues.
Officers arrived and found the man dead with at least one gunshot wound. Armendariz said detectives believe the shooting occurred in the alley a few hours before the body was found.
Homicide detectives were at the scene about 6 a.m. collecting evidence and searching for clues. They were following up on leads and speaking with witnesses Saturday evening.
Some residents who live on Alma Avenue, just west of the alley behind the thrift store, said they didn't hear any suspicious noises about the time the man's body was found.
The homes sit on the other side of trees and a cement wall that separates them from a strip of businesses along McHenry Avenue.
The residents said the area behind the businesses is heavily trafficked overnight by vandals and vagrants who walk up and down the alley. They said hearing suspicious noises is a common occurrence.
One of the residents said she heard burglar alarms from some of the businesses going off shortly before the man's body was found.
Jim Carlan, 66, said he was up late watching the end of the Olympics telecast when he heard a suspicious noise coming from the alley between 12:45 and 1 a.m.
"It was a loud bang, and then the dogs started barking," said Carlan, who lives on the west side of Alma Avenue. "I just waited for a few minutes, but I didn't hear anything else."
Carlan said he wasn't sure if the sound he heard was a gunshot, so he went to bed. He said he later spoke to a detective canvassing the neighborhood about what he heard.
"It wasn't that distinct bang that you would get from a gunshot," Carlan said. "It just wasn't quite that noise."
Police ask anyone with information about this death to call Detective Rick House at 572-9551 or Crime Stoppers at 521-4636 or the toll-free number: 866-602-7463. Tipsters also can e-mail tips through the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.modestopolice.com/CrimeStoppers, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus a message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2394.