Ryan Mazzariello, 25, served in the National Guard and was deployed to Kosovo.
But as he now sits in the Stanislaus County Jail, suspected of gunning down and killing two people outside of an Oakdale market, those who know him say he had good reason for what he did.
“Steven”, a local security guard, said Mazzariello’s wife shared with him a recent incident that pushed the soldier over the edge.
“They had him, her, the baby, hostage with a gun to her head and his head, basically telling him, if he ever intervened with them again… they would rape her in front of him and her daughter,” Steven said.
Neighbors said about two weeks ago, gang members who run rampant in the neighborhood, had beaten a buddy of Mazzariello. They said he later evened the score by punching out the guy who attacked his friend.
“Basically back and forth. Something happened to them, something happened to him. He’s just trying to protect himself,” Steven said. “Honestly, everyone’s making him out to be the bad guy. But I would do the exact same thing to protect my family.”
Mazzariello’s neighbor, “Samuel”, said earlier on the day of the shooting, Mazzariello had invited him over to watch the Niner game, a Sunday just like any other.
“I was drinking a Bud Light. I told him, ‘Do you like Bud Light?’ ‘Yes.’ And I gave him a Bud Light,” Samuel said.
“And he was in a good mood, he was happy?’ FOX40 asked.
“Yeah, yeah. He was happy,” Samuel added.
Stanislaus County investigators have not given an official motive in the killings.