Courts & Crime

Six arrested in 'brazen' public murder

Six people have been arrested in the slaying of a 20-year-old man who was gunned down in his pickup truck on one of the city's busiest streets.

Police Chief Art de Werk sought to counter a perception that the homicide was a random one. He said Modesto resident Amadeo Avalos was targeted by his killers but declined to give a motive in the Jan. 11 shooting.

Officers served search warrants at three homes in Modesto and one in Ceres on Tuesday and arrested six suspects, four of whom they believe are a husband and wife and their two adult children.

Ceres police have described Avalos as a "hard-working young man" with no criminal record or gang affiliation.

"This victim was targeted," de Werk said. "That may seem odd because we are describing him as a decent person."

De Werk said investigators can't say more now.

"The (district attorney's) office is really adamant that we keep the details quiet until they are ready to release them," he said. "We are still in a full investigative mode."

Police said these suspects have been arrested:

Modesto resident Primitivo Guizar, 18, on suspicion of homicide and the special circumstances of lying in wait, which is similar to an ambush

Modesto resident Enrique Valadez, 19, on suspicion of homicide and the special circumstances of lying in wait

Ceres resident Lucila Sanchez, 32, on suspicion of accessory to a felony

Modesto resident Luis Sanchez, 64, on suspicion of accessory to a felony

Modesto resident Rosa Sanchez, 54, on suspicion of accessory to a felony

Modesto resident Heliberto Sanchez, 26, on suspicion of accessory to a felony

De Werk said police believe Luis and Rosa Sanchez are married and Lucila and Heliberto Sanchez are their children.

Four of the six suspects had been booked at the jail as of early Tuesday evening. The remaining two were expected to be booked later in the evening.

Avalos was gunned down while driving his small truck east on Whitmore Avenue near Morgan Road on Jan. 11. Police received calls about gunshots at 11:08 a.m. and found Avalos slumped over in the driver's seat of a Chevrolet pickup at the southeast corner of Whitmore and Morgan.

His family could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Read the full story at the Modesto Bee.

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