STANISLAUS COUNTY – An officer-involved shooting occurred Saturday afternoon leading to the death of one person. Officials say someone was brandishing a firearm near a skatepark which sparked a hazardous sequence of events.
Around midafternoon on Saturday, the Ceres Police Department received a call about someone brandishing a firearm near the skatepark at Smyrna Community Park. The caller reported the suspect was driving a dark colored Lexus. While responding to the first call, officers received a call about a hit-and-run on East Whitmore Avenue between Mitchell Road and Moore Road. The person who called in the hit-and-run was a witness to the incident and followed the suspected vehicle; the description of the vehicle matched the description of the first caller: a dark colored Lexus.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department said an elderly woman was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries due the hit-and-run that occurred on Moffet and Fowler Roads in Ceres.
Ceres police attempted a traffic stop on the Lexus; the driver failed to yield to the officer’s emergency lights and sirens and a high speed chase began. The chase led to an unincorporated part of Stanislaus County just outside of the community of Denair, according to Law enforcement.
The vehicle stopped on Sperry Road, just North of Service Road before one of the five occupants exited.
“Immediately upon the vehicle stopping, one man jumped out of the vehicle with a handgun and the Ceres police officer fired,” said Sgt. Tom Letras, with the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department (SCSD).
It is currently unclear if the person who exited the vehicle with the gun is the same person from the park.
Officers detained the other four occupants, three of whom were identified as two male juveniles and one female juvenile, according to the SCSD. A fourth occupant was identified as 20-year-old Jose Robles from Hickman.
Once the scene was cleared, emergency personnel were allowed to enter the scene and administer life-saving techniques to the person who was shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The three minors were later released into the custody of their parents or guardians. Robles was arrested on an unrelated misdemeanor warrant, according to the SCSD.
Bobbie Carne lives down the street from where the shooting took place and spoke to FOX40 over the phone.
“We heard the screeching of tires; the car was coming to a halt. And then all of a sudden, we heard six gunshots, that was it,” said Carne.
The Ceres police officer was alone at the scene and shot the male at least once, according to the SCSD. The other occupants of the vehicle remained inside.
While police investigate, Carne just hopes she won’t hear any more sirens coming toward her peaceful neighborhood.
“We’re out in the country and it takes a lot of time for emergency crews to get out to our house. So when you hear them coming toward you it’s scary because your first thought is, it’s a police chase," Carne said.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department is the lead investigating agency of this officer-involved shooting and will be assisted by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office. Part of the investigation will be to make sure the officer in this case followed protocol. SCSD said the officer was not injured and has been placed on paid administrative leave per department policy.