Modesto man fired gun after eviction, during taco truck confrontation. He gets prison

A 25-year-old Modesto man has been sentenced to 15 years and four months in prison for firing a gun after he was evicted and for a shooting during a confrontation at a taco truck.

Salvador Esparza Jr. was convicted of assault with a firearm in the two 2017 incidents, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office announced last week in a news release. Deputy District Attorney Barry Shapiro prosecuted the case.

Esparza was evicted from a home on Ustick Road in south Modesto on June 2, 2017. Prosecutors said Esparza fired a semiautomatic handgun at the house in retaliation for being evicted. Multiple shots were fired at the home, which had people inside.

The other shooting occurred a few weeks later. Esparza on June 22, 2017, was eating at a taco truck along Crows Landing Road in south Modesto. He was approached by several unidentified people.

Prosecutors said Esparza went to his vehicle, grabbed a handgun and fired several shots. One bullet hit a taco truck. The employee inside the truck was not injured.

Esparza was arrested July 5, 2017. Prosecutors charged him with assault with a gun, shooting at an inhabited home and being a felon in possession of a gun and ammunition.

On May 17, Esparza pleaded no contest to two counts of assault with a gun, along with an enhancement for using a gun in the crimes. Prosecutors said a prior conviction considered a strike under the state’s “Three Strikes” law was used to double Esparza’s prison sentence.

Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Shawn Bessey on June 7 ordered Esparza to serve 15 years and four months in prison. Esparza’s convictions are considered violent felonies, which means he will have to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence before he can become eligible for parole.

Sunday, Esparza remained in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail awaiting a transfer to prison.

Rosalio Ahumada writes news stories about criminal court cases in Stanislaus County for The Modesto Bee, issues related to immigration and immigrant communities and breaking news related to crime and public safety. From time to time, he covers the Modesto City Council meetings. He has worked as a news reporter in the Northern San Joaquin Valley since 2004.