Murder Arrests Part of Modesto Gang Crackdown

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Modesto police have a $2 million arrest warrant out for a man suspected of shooting and killing another young man in the neighborhood of Vera Cruz Drive just last week.

But there are nine other people, arrested and in custody for the same murder.

“If you have a number of gang members who are working together to commit a crime, they are all equally responsible, regardless of who pulls the trigger,” Stanislaus County District Attorney Brigit Flatager said.

The alleged trigger man – 21-year-old Giovani Barocio, is still on the run.

But the nine already in custody are charged in connection which what police say was a planned killing of a rival gang member.

“The community is tired of it. We’re tired of it. And if you are in a gang, and you do gang violence, you will be prosecuted,” Flatager said.  “What makes this unusual, is there are just so many more.”

The group is suspected of taking part in the beating, stabbing and shooting of 20-year-old Erick Gomez on Valentine’s Day.

All face charges of murder and conspiracy. Being gang members, could put them in prison for 50 years to life.

“Gang activity has been increasing. The violence, we think, is increasing,” the DA said.

Investigators say a wall to the rear of the Coffee Plaza Shopping Center  is intended to incite violence, when gang members cross out the names of rival gang members who have died, to show disrespect.

Many in the neighborhood are hopeful with all the arrests. One mother lives down the street from where the killing took place.

“They have a long ways to go because they don’t even know the extent of all of the stuff roots from,” she said. “Yeah, they’re getting the couple of people that are bad around here, but that doesn’t go with the day-to-day stuff that happens in these neighborhoods.”

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