Modesto sets homicide record with two months remaining in year

Modesto’s 26th homicide of the year early Sunday morning underscored a violent weekend and brought the total to two more than the previous record of 24 in 2012.

Modesto police Chief Galen Carroll said violent crimes this year run the gamut, the result of domestic violence, gangs, drugs, mental illness and other factors. Two domestic violence incidents account for eight of the deaths. Two fatal shootings were by officers. Two of the homicides began as assaults; the victim was beaten up but later died in a hospital with other complications.

Over the weekend two people were shot, one killed, and three were stabbed. Surprisingly, no one was hurt in a second shooting incident on Saturday evening when more than 20 rounds were fired by people in two cars driving in opposite directions on Yosemite Boulevard.

The man who was shot and killed early Sunday morning in northwest Modesto was identified on Monday as 29-year-old Arturo Rodriguez Jr.

Rodriguez and another man were shot in front of a home in the 2100 block of Sharon Way, a residential neighborhood west of Prescott Road.

The victim who survived was taken by ambulance to a local hospital and has since been released.

No one has been arrested in connection with the homicide and no suspects have been identified.

Three men were arrested on suspicion of three different stabbing incidents that took place this weekend and on Monday. None of the victims in those incidents died.

The first stabbing was early Saturday morning. Modesto police were alerted to the attack just before 6 a.m. after the victim freed himself from restraints the suspect tied him up with, said spokeswoman Heather Graves.

The victim, 45, told police he was asleep when his roommate started stabbing him in the neck.

Graves said the suspect tied up the victim and left him bleeding in the house they share in the 1500 block of Goldenwood Drive, east of Carver Road.

The suspect talked to the victim while he was tied up, telling him multiple times he was going to kill him. Eventually the suspect fell asleep, Graves said.

After several hours the victim managed to free himself and escape to a neighbor’s house, where he called police.

The victim was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive.

Officers surrounded the house and used loudspeakers to call the suspect out of the house.

Graves said he was caught at about 8:15 a.m. when he crawled out of a back window and and jumped a fence.

David Medina, 27, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, kidnapping, criminal threats and false imprisonment.

He also had warrants for two of the same charges – kidnapping and criminal threats – from a crime that occurred in Hayward, and two domestic battery warrants out of Livermore.

On Sunday night, a 22-year-old man was stabbed when he was jumped by several men over a girl.

Graves said the victim was stabbed multiple times during the scuffle on Sutter Avenue.

He identified the man who stabbed him, and officers arrested Allen Barrett, 27, at his home on Victor Way a short time later. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

On Monday morning a man suffered a serious laceration during an altercation on the 900 block of Helen Avenue, northeast of Sunrise and Lucern avenues.

The victim and the man who cut him know each other and had a previous altercation, said Modesto police Lt. Kelly Scott.

The victim was transported to a local hospital, where he was in stable condition, Scott said.

Keith Howry, 56, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Modesto’s violent crime rate has increased every year over the past five years, from 1,398 offenses in 2010 to 1,778 last year.

Carroll said his gang unit and patrol officers have been focusing efforts on getting illegal firearms off the streets to combat the problem. They seized more than 130 guns in July and August.

He said it’s impossible to pinpoint a source of the violence, especially since there is not a single motive.

He believes, however, that low staffing levels over the summer and the enactment of Proposition 47 might be contributing factors.

“Folks that used to be in custody for quote victimless crimes were released to the streets,” Carroll said. “The people who were in for Prop. 47 crimes are either tomorrow’s victim or tomorrow’s suspect of violent crimes.”

Proposition 47 was approved by California’s voters in November and turns most drug possession crimes and property crimes in which the value of the property does not exceed $950 into misdemeanors. Carroll said his department saw crime increase a month after the proposition’s passage.

As many people said at the time but some people believe drug use is a victimless crime

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