Shooting suspect presumed dead after fire breaks out at Modesto home

10:23 AM, Apr 13, 2012   |    comments
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MODESTO, CA - A man suspected of shooting and killing a Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy and a civilian is presumed dead after a fire broke out around 10:15 Thursday night in a home where he barricaded himself.

Modesto firefighers put out the flames just before 2 a.m. Friday.

Deputy Robert Paris and a civilian served an eviction notice at the four-plex on the 2100 block of Chrysler Drive around 11 a.m., Sheriff Adam Christianson said.

It's unclear what lead up to the shooting, but afterward the suspect barricaded himself inside the residence.

A neighbor a few doors down from the shooting said he heard three shots.

Whether the civilian accompanied the deputies, was in the home and/or was an innocent bystander wasn't known.

Christianson said crews fired tear gas and flash bang grenades into the home throughout the day to draw the suspect out. He said flammable material in the home most likely ignited the fire that started 11 hours into the police standoff.

Modesto Fire Department spokesman Hugo Patino said around 11:45 p.m. that three of the four walls in the home collapsed and crews worked to protect adjacent structures from exposure to the fire.

Christianson said crews presume the suspect is dead in the home. He said authorities believe the suspect was in the home throughout the standoff and when the fire broke out.

Around 12:45 a.m., Stanislaus County sheriff's Sgt. Anthony Bejaran said Modesto fire crews were evaluating the structure to see if it was safe to enter. The Modesto Police Department will take over the criminal investigation and search for the suspect's remains. Bejaran said the majority of the special operation teams have left the scene.

About 15 different agencies, four SWAT Teams and the bomb squad were called to the scene of the standoff, Christianson termed help "an abundance of caution."

Throughout the standoff authorities did not have any contact with the suspect. Authorities tried to deliver a communication device to the suspect using a breaching robot around 5 p.m. Police also used a megaphone to announce, "Jimmy, we know that you can hear us. Pick up the phone."

Residents in the area of Chrysler Drive and Prescott Road were evacuated. An evacuation center was been set up at Prescott Evangelical Free Church at 3000 Prescott Road.

Paris was a 16-year veteran of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department.

"This is a tragic day for law enforcement and public safety," Christianson said in a statement. "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."

Paris is survived by his parents, brother and two adult children.

The identity of the civilian has not been made public pending notification of family.

The suspected gunman was described as an Hispanic man in his 40s, 6 feet 2 inches tall.

The man's name was not released.


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