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Ceres Officer Involved in 2 Deadly Shootings in 10 Months

CERES -- Nearly a week after Spencer Mendez was shot and killed by a Ceres Police Officer, the officer has been identified, and this is his second deadly officer-involved shooting in 10 months.

The family and friends of Mendez are still trying to heal, but now they have a new emotion.

Mendez, who was 15, was shot and killed after police were called after someone in a dark-colored Lexus was waving a gun at Smyrna Park in Ceres. Police say a car matching the description had also been involved in a hit and run and after a high-speed pursuit, came to a stop at Sperry Road, where police say Mendez jumped out of the car with a handgun before an officer opened fire.

Ceres police have identified the officer as 38-year-old Ross Bays, a 7-year veteran of the department. Bays has been placed on administrative leave

“I was kind of more mad. I understand cops have fear for their lives too but there are other ways to handle it,” Chrystal Dodd, Mendez’s aunt, told FOX40. “They’ve taken down way worse killers and murderers without shooting them.”

Bays was also involved in the October 22nd, 2017 shooting of 27-year-old Nicholas Pimentel, who was killed after investigators say officers fired shots at Pimentel’s car at imperial avenue and Ustick Road in Modesto.

FOX40 reported at the time that Pimentel’s family said his girlfriend, who was in the car at the time of the shooting, said the officers used a pit maneuver before shots were fired and that Pimentel was driving drunk and refused to stop for police after bumping cars.

The Pimentel family learned about the connection between the shootings Friday.

It’s not a good reaction. It’s two different situations. We don’t know what’s going on with the 15-year-old, our hearts go out to their family. It was just wrong,” Kathy Pimentel, Nicolaus’ aunt, said. “We don’t have no answers. We just want justice for both families, that’s all.”

Now connected by devastating circumstances, the families hope to turn the anger they feel into peace someday

“Just trying to get past it but you can’t, really, because you don’t have justice,” Nicolaus’ brother, Matthew, told FOX40.

FOX40 reached out to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, who is investigating both shootings, but did not hear back before our deadline. The Mendez family said they would hold a memorial at Starn Park in Hughson Friday evening and the Pimentel family said they planned to attend to show their support.