A 24-year-old man has been sentenced to 15 years and four months in prison for a series of 2010 shootings targeting Modesto homes associated with rival gang members.
Andrew Joseph Melendez of Modesto was convicted Feb. 24 of assault with a semi-automatic gun, allowing another to fire a gun from a vehicle and recklessly evading police, according to the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.
Melendez also admitted that the crimes were committed to benefit a criminal street gang.
Deputy District Attorney Jeff Laugero prosecuted the case.
Modesto police investigated four reports of “shots fired” from May 1-8, 2010. The shootings appeared to be targeting areas associated with the Sureño criminal street gang. Its rival is the Norteño gang.
On May 8, 2010, police officers responded to a report of a drive-by shooting at a house associated with the Sureños on Jennifer Drive in north Modesto. In the area, officers found several .25-caliber shell casings.
After officers left, police received a second report of shots fired at the same house. An officer responding to the area spotted a car parked on Rumble Road that matched the description of the vehicle used in the shooting.
As the officer made a U-turn, the car sped off. Prosecutors said the police pursuit ended when the driver, Melendez, failed to negotiate a left turn and struck a wall. Melendez ran from the car but was captured shortly after.
Officers found an unfired .25-caliber bullet, red clothing and a red phone with gang photos in the car, prosecutors said. The Norteño gang associates itself with the color red.
Investigators also found a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun on the opposite side of the wall struck by the car. Prosecutors said investigators determined that fired .25-caliber shell casings and bullets found at three of the previous shootings had been fired from that handgun.