MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A Livingston man accused of stalking and killing a woman, as well as shooting at two others, on Tuesday night is now behind bars in Stanislaus County.
Officials identified him as 22-year-old Juan Francisco Ibarra-Tapia.
He is accused of shooting and killing 22-year-old Zobeyda Esquerra in the parking lot of an O’Reilly Auto Parts store on Geer Road in Turlock.
The victim’s sister told FOX40 off-camera that Esquerra was at O’Reilly that day picking up her boyfriend. She said that’s when the suspect killed her and shot at her boyfriend and another person.
Neither her boyfriend nor the other employee was hurt in the shooting.
A man working across the street at Paul’s Food Mart said he saw and heard the deadly shooting and went to help.
“Saw the gentleman get out of the car, approach her at an angle and fire on her, and then walked around the vehicle to the backside because he had … parked so close to her. He had to walk around his vehicle and then proceeded to shoot her a couple more times,” said DJ Terrill Jr. “And then fired at me and fired back at O’Reilly and then fled the scene.”
Terrill said he performed CPR to try and help Esquerra.
“She started coming to, started just making noise and breathing but only breathing outwards. She couldn’t breathe in,” Terrill said. “So, I was trying to do whatever I could, but it wasn’t working.”
After the shooting, police said Ibarra-Tapia left the scene and crashed in a residential neighborhood on North Quincy Road.
“Honestly, I thought it was a drunk driver, probably hit something out here. But when I saw the cops out here with all the guns out, I knew it was a little more serious than that,” said resident Dave Shaneyfelt. “The car ended up halfway through that fence over there. And he got out of the driver’s side and bolted through my side of the yard and then over my backyard.”
Officers said they were able to find him after a homeowner in the area called for help.
Ibarra-Tapia was arrested on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and other charges. He was expected in court for arraignment on Thursday, but the hearing was postponed.
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The family of Zobeyda Esquerra was heartbroken as they expected to see the accused face to face, but now, they will have to wait.
Ibarra-Tapia’s defense attorney refused to disclose the reason for delaying the arraignment. It is now scheduled for Friday morning.
Detectives working the case said they learned Ibarra-Tapia knew Esquerra and that he was arrested for allegedly stalking her in October of 2021.
According to the family, Esquerra previously worked at an O’Reilly store with the suspect and said they were friends until she rejected Ibarra-Tapia’s romantic advances.
The family has posted online they want justice for Esquerra. A GoFundMe page was also started to help the family put Esquerra to rest.