California News

2 killed while serving eviction notice in Modesto

Thursday, April 12, 2012

There was a dramatic end to a 12-hour standoff on Chrysler Drive in north Modesto. A man suspected of killing a sheriff's deputy and another man Thursday morning has been holed up all day.

Thursday just before 10 p.m., the home that the suspect was in started to catch fire and was soon after fully engulfed in large flames. At first the police thought they did not start the fire, but later it was discovered that one of their tear gas canisters shot into the home may have started the fire.

As the home at the Whispering Woods development burned, a group of neighbors and other onlookers gathered behind police lines at the end of the block. Popping noises, possibly from ammunition inside the home, could then be heard coming from the fire.

All firefighters could do was stop the fire from spreading to neighboring apartments.

The suspect did not come out of the home and police said the suspect has not been communicating with law enforcement. They have been trying to reach him since 3 p.m. In fact, even after throwing flash bangs into the apartment, they would get on the bullhorn and say things like, "I know you can hear me. I know you are afraid." Still, there was no answer from the suspect.

This all started around 11 a.m. That's when Stanislaus Sheriff's deputies went to the suspect's door with an eviction notice, when suddenly there was gunfire. Officials say the suspect started shooting and within moments two people were dead -- Deputy Robert Paris and an unnamed civilian.

According to witnesses interviewed by the Modesto Bee, as one deputy and another man knelt down in front of the front door to drill into the lock, that's when multiple shots rang out.

"I heard three shots initially, cops responded very, very, very quickly," neighbor Justin Langton said.

"We saw an officer; I believe he got shot and he was just stumbling to the ground," Conrad Williams said.

"I heard boom, boom really loud, like shots and went to go wakeup my boyfriend. I was like, 'Someone shooting,' and then after the shots stopped we waited a second and then we went outside and I saw two bodies right there just laying there," said Naida Rivera, an evacuee.

A number of people were evacuated and were waiting it out at a nearby church. In a statement Sheriff Adam Christianson said, "Deputy Paris paid the ultimate price, sacrificing his life, while protecting and serving the citizens of Stanislaus County. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob's family, the community, our sheriff's family and all the law enforcement personnel from every jurisdiction in the Central Valley who come to our aid today."

Law enforcement from 15 different agencies as well as the FBI and SWAT teams from four counties were at the scene.

Paris was a 16-year veteran of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department and is survived by his parents, a brother, and two adult children.

Police would not give details on whether or not they would move into the home. They said their first priority was to contain the fire.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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