Modesto tattoo parlor owner arrested on murder charges after shooting behind business

Man is fatally shot off McHenry Avenue in Modesto

Police in Modesto, CA, responded to a fatal shooting in an alley behind McHenry Avenue on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Up Next
Police in Modesto, CA, responded to a fatal shooting in an alley behind McHenry Avenue on Friday, March 15, 2019.

The owner of a Modesto tattoo and piercing parlor was arrested on murder charges after allegedly shooting and killing a man outside of his shop Friday.

According to a Modesto Police Department press release, 36-year-old Jeremy Don Fennell, a one-time candidate in a Riverbank City Council race, was arrested on homicide charges Friday night after the shooting earlier in the day behind his business, Sin Cal Industries.

The 25-year-old victim was identified as Lawrence Gregory Walker.

Officer Adam Foster of the Modesto Police Department said that on Friday at just after noon Fennell allegedly confronted two men in the alley behind his tattoo and piercing shop at 3117 McHenry Ave. The contact escalated and turned into an argument, according to police, and Fennell then allegedly shot Walker.

According to a police press release, Fennell called 911 after the shooting and stayed on the scene to speak with authorities. When officers arrived, they found Walker unresponsive behind the business. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he died from his injuries.

Foster said Fennell cooperated with detectives on scene and had an up-to-date concealed carry license. He was booked into Stanislaus County Jail at 7:30 p.m. Friday. No bail amount has been listed.

Modesto Police did not release information about what caused the contact or conflict. Sin Cal Industries was closed after the shooting Friday and Saturday, despite posted hours on its door indicating the shop was open. Calls to the business were not answered.

According to a Modesto Bee story in 2013, Fennell was a candidate in a special election for an open seat on the Riverbank City Council. He finished third behind winner Cal Campbell and Diana Gonzalez. After losing the election he remained upbeat about his campaign.

“I’m still young,” he said. “I definitely am going to stay involved with the community.”

Fennell started Sin Cal Industries in Riverbank’s Crossroads shopping center, but moved it to its north McHenry Avenue location in Modesto in 2014. The shop was voted as the area’s best tattoo and piercing parlor in the 2018 Modesto Bee Readers’ Choice Awards.

The Stanislaus County Superior Court case index has more than half a dozen cases pending for a “Lawrence Gregory Walker” in the last three years. The criminal complaints are all misdemeanors and range from drug and paraphernalia charges to unlawful camping on private property, domestic violence and possession of a switchblade.

According to the same court case index, Fennell has three civil cases pending in Stanislaus County Superior Court. He is the defendant on two civil lawsuits on hold, and one still open.

John Holland covers breaking news and has been with The Modesto Bee since 2000. He has covered agriculture for the Bee and at newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and has a journalism degree from UC Berkeley.

Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.