Crime

Man fatally shot by police officers in downtown Modesto

Man killed in Modesto officer-involved shooting

Video by Erin Tracy and Andy Alfaro
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Video by Erin Tracy and Andy Alfaro

An armed man fleeing police on a bicycle was fatally shot by officers in downtown Modesto on Thursday afternoon.

Two Modesto police officers were involved in the shooting on the first floor of the garage at the Merrill Lynch Building, which houses civil court as well as private offices, at 801 10th Street.

About 2:10 p.m. officers attempted to stop the man on the bike and he fled into the garage, according to Heather Graves, a police spokeswoman.

When approached by police, the man failed to comply with officers’ orders to drop his gun, Graves said.

Several shots were fired by both officers, Graves said. Witnesses reported hearing from six to nine shots fired in the garage.

The suspect was struck at least once. He was wheeled from the garage on a gurney as paramedics performed chest compressions; a bullet wound was visible on his left shoulder.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died. Graves said Thursday night there was no information on the deceased.

The officers involved in the shooting were not injured.

Asked why the man was being chased and if the man shot at the officers, Graves said all of that remains under investigation, Graves said.

Graves said both officers arrived in the garage in the same car. Generally, Modesto officers do not ride two to a car. Circumstances in which they would include special assignments, detectives doing an investigation and a training officer with a trainee.

Witnesses said officers in a marked patrol car were chasing the suspect, who was riding a bicycle.

Elizabeth Haro was working at the McDonald’s drive-thru when she heard the sirens approaching.

“When I turned to hand out someone’s change, the customers started staring in the direction of the bus station, and that’s when I (saw) the guy on the bike speeding into our parking lot and the cop car following him,” she said.

She said they came from the direction of the transit center and continued through the parking lot and into the alley behind McDonald’s. The officers continued to pursue the bicyclist as he crossed I Street and continued through the alley, which goes behind the Merrill Lynch building.

A crime scene was established, the area cordoned off, and 10th Street was closed between H and I streets while detectives investigated the shooting.

The officers were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.

The Modesto Police Department, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office are conducting investigations.

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