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Thursday, 08 March 2012 04:06

A Day In The Life Of A Modesto Police Officer

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Modesto Police Sergeant Brian Findlen calls for the traffic units to respond to a fatal accident near Ceres.

Ever wonder what it's like to be a police officer? In this classic episode of Central Valley Report, our cameras ride along on an eventful night with a Modesto Police officer on patrol (Warning: Video may not be suitable for some viewers.)

Thursday, 08 March 2012 02:46

Cause Of McHenry Mansion Fire "Undetermined"

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The McHenry Mansion suffered a fire damaging the front entryway in early December.

A three month investigation of the December 6, 2011, McHenry Mansion fire has resulted in an official ruling that the cause of the fire is “undetermined.” For official reporting purposes, there are three reporting categories for fires – undetermined, accidental or arson. Arson has been ruled out as the forensic analysis of the wood samples eliminated flammable liquids as the cause of the fire.

Modesto Regional Fire Authority investigators evaluated the scene of the fire, which was mostly contained to the entryway of the 128-year-old Mansion. Witnesses were interviewed, lighting fixtures and holiday decorations were scrutinized as well as other potential sources of ignition. Wood samples were taken from the entryway and submitted to the Department of Justice Crime Lab for forensic analysis. The results of the forensic analysis came back this week, and due to the fact that the exact cause of the fire could not be pinpointed, the official cause of the fire is officially recorded as “undetermined.”

“It is unfortunate that the specific cause of the fire was not able to be definitively determined; however, the most important thing is that this treasured building is still standing,” said Modesto Regional Fire Authority Chief Michael Kraus. “I am thankful to the dedicated and professional firefighters who quickly extinguished the fire and took great care of a piece of Modesto’s history that night.”

The most severe damage to the Mansion occurred 10 feet above the floor of the entryway; adjacent to this area were remnants of a hanging, incandescent light fixture and plastic garland decoration, which was on display for the holiday season. As a result, investigators were unable to rule out the light fixture and/or the decorations as either having started or contributed to the spread of the fire.

While the damage to the exterior entryway of the McHenry Mansion is severe, it is repairable. The Mansions’ fire sprinkler system along with the quick response from the Modesto Regional Fire Authority are credited for preventing the spread of the fire to the interior of the building which could have caused significantly more damage to this irreplaceable historic Modesto icon.

Repairs to the McHenry Mansion are ongoing and it is anticipated that public tours will begin again on a limited basis in April, with the goal of a grand re-opening in the fall of this year.

Tuesday, 06 March 2012 07:05

Modesto Police Officer Witnesses Shooting

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(Photojournalist Marty Bicek contributed to this video report.)

Police surround a home on Rouse Avenue after an officer witnesses shots being fired. (Photo by Marty Bicek)

A Modesto Police officer experienced first-hand how quickly being on “routine” patrol can lead to witnessing a drive-by shooting, becoming involved in a vehicle pursuit, and ultimately apprehending the two suspects responsible for this violent and reckless crime.

The officer’s journey began on Monday, March 5th at about 6 p.m., when the police officer was on “routine” patrol in west Modesto. The officer was wearing his police uniform and driving a marked police car, traveling southbound in the 800 block of Sutter Avenue. His attention was drawn to a car that was approaching him, traveling northbound of Sutter Avenue. The officer witnessed the suspects in the car shooting out the window towards a residence. As the suspect vehicle passed the officer, the officer made a quick U-Turn and got behind the car. The driver in the car fled and led the officer on a short vehicle pursuit.

At one point, the driver of the suspect car stopped in the 900 block of Rouse Avenue and two occupants fled on foot into the residential neighborhood nearby. Officers located a handgun inside the suspect’s abandoned car. Officers then established a large perimeter around the neighborhood, which included several square blocks, in an attempt to contain the suspects and prevent their escape. Deputies from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s office, as well as officers from the California Highway Patrol and Ceres Police Department also converged to the scene to assist.

Witnesses reported seeing the suspects jumping fences and running across yards. Due to the heightened risk to the community of having two shooting suspects loose in the neighborhood and believed to be armed, several Modesto Police canine officers, the Modesto Police SWAT team, and the Sheriff’s helicopter assisted in searching for these two violent and armed suspects. Daniel Ramirez, a 19-year-old Modesto resident, was located in the 700 block of Roselawn Avenue. He was arrested, while officers continued to search for the driver of the suspect car.

The search led officers to a residence in the 900 block of Rouse Avenue. Officers surrounded the house and made contact with the occupants. Officers contacted several people who were inside the home, which included the driver of the suspect vehicle, a 17-year-old Modesto resident. The suspected driver was arrested without incident. While there, officers also saw Greg Woody, a 38-year-old Modesto resident, in possession a handgun. Woody is the father of the 17-year-old suspected driver and he appeared to be attempting to wipe fingerprints from the gun. This gun is believed to have been used in this shooting. Woody was arrested and booked for being a felon in possession of a firearm and parole violations.

Officers went another address in the 700 block of Roselawn Avenue, which is the home to Daniel Ramirez, and contacted Vanessa McDougall, a 20-year-old Modesto resident. She was found to be in possession of a quantity of marijuana sufficient for sales and an AK-47 assault rifle. McDougall was arrested and booked for the drug and firearm violations.

Ramirez was booked for negligent discharge of a firearm and possession of stolen property. The 17-year-old driver was booked into juvenile hall for negligent discharge of a firearm, evading police, and minor possession of a firearm.

Investigators will be following up on the initial drive-by shooting to determine what the motive may have been and who the intended target was. Fortunately, no one was injured during the shooting.

Police ask anyone who may have information regarding this incident to please call Crime Stoppers toll free at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters can also text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Just type “TIP704” along with your message.

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Daniel Quinn Gonzales (Booking Photo)

Modesto Police detectives are investigating a stabbing that left a 26-year-old male victim in critical condition. Police have one person in custody and believe there maybe more suspects involved.

On Sunday March 11th, just before 2 a.m., Modesto Police officers working the Downtown Entertainment District were flagged down by security from the Aqua Night Club, located at 910 12th Street. Security reported a stabbing had just occurred in front of their business and they had chased the suspect, who was reported to be armed with the knife, into the Speak Easy Lounge located at 928 12th Street, where the suspect had temporarily eluded capture.

Police officers located a male victim, who appeared to be suffering from multiple stab wounds lying outside of the Aqua Night Club. The victim was transported to a local hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. He is currently listed in critical, but stable condition.

Additional officers converged to the area and began to look for the stabbing suspect. Officers located the suspect, Daniel Quinn Gonzales, a 19-year-old Ceres residence, as he emerged onto 12th street. Gonzales ran after seeing the officers and was eventually apprehended near J Street and 11th Street.

Officers have not yet determined a motive for the assault and are still piecing together the facts that led up to the stabbing. Investigators have learned the victim was inside the Aqua Shi Night Club earlier in the evening, when some sort of confrontation occurred between the victim and Gonzales.

At closing time as the victim exited the club, Gonzales and at least one other suspect approached the victim from behind and began to assault him. Aqua Shi security was able to intervene and chased Gonzales as he fled. Security was able to flag down the officers who were nearby, and that is when the officers located the victim.

Gonzales was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail for attempted murder. Police believe additional suspects were involved in the assault and are following-up on leads. This case remains an active and open investigation.

Police ask anyone who may have information regarding this incident to call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters can also text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Just type “TIP704” along with your message.

Saturday, 03 March 2012 01:37

Family Seeks Answers In Keyes Man's Death

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Donnie Coyle

Donnie Coyle was found dead on the side of the road near the intersection of Keyes and Carpenter Roads last week. The death has been classified as a hit and run. Family of Coyle held a candle light vigil last night in Keyes and ask anyone with information to come forward and contact authorities. Anonymous tips can be left on the crimestoppers hotline at 209-521-4636.

Saturday, 03 March 2012 00:49

Three Killed In Modesto Shooting

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Modesto Police Investigate A Triple Homicide On McClure Road

Modesto Police are investigating an early morning fatal shooting that left three people dead. Officers are in the initial stages of this investigation as they begin to look for clues that will help identify the shooter(s).

On Saturday March 3, 2012, at about 3:42 a.m., Modesto Police officers were called to a residence in the 700 block of N. McClure Road in east Modesto for a report of a shooting. When officers entered the residence, they located three victims, each suffered from fatal gunshot wounds.

Homicide detectives are in the preliminary stage of this investigation and are interviewing witnesses and processing this complex crime scene. More information will be released as the investigation continues.

UPDATE: Modesto Police Detectives continue to gather evidence as they work on identifying the suspect(s) responsible for killing three people inside an east Modesto home. Investigators have now confirmed the identities of the victims and are releasing their names.

On Saturday March 3, 2012, at about 3:42 a.m., Modesto Police officers were called to a residence in the 700 block of N. McClure Road in east Modesto for a report of a shooting. When officers entered the residence, they located three victims, each suffered from fatal gunshot wounds.

The victims have been identified as 19-year-old Alyxandra Tellez, 31-year-old Edward Joseph Reinig, and 16-year-old David Siebels. All three victims were Modesto residents.

Police ask anyone who may have information regarding this incident to please call Crime Stoppers toll free at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters can also text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Just type “TIP704” along with your message.

Police Investigators enter a home on McClure where three people were found shot to death.