Modesto, California

From Sacramento’s News10.net of March 17, 2007

Man Killed in Modesto Gas Station Fight

A machete-wielding man was shot and killed after getting into a fight with a group of men and taking a hostage at a Modesto gas station early Saturday, Modesto police officials said.

Richard Perez, 43, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the 1 a.m. Saturday shooting at the Valero gas station, 325 Maze Boulevard, Modesto police spokesman Ivan Valencia said.

Witnesses said Perez got into an altercation with up to eight men who drove up to the gas station in two cars. Valencia said Perez took one of the men hostage, holding the machete to the man’s throat. One of the man’s friends pulled a handgun and allegedly pleaded with Perez to let the man go, Valencia said. After a pair of warning shots, witnesses said the gunman shot Perez several times, allowing the hostage to escape unhurt. Both carloads of men then fled the scene.

Investigators interviewed several witnesses to the confrontation and under the circumstances, the shooting may have been justified, Modesto police detective Dodge Hendee said. Valencia said detectives were looking for the men confronted by Perez, identified as seven or eight black males from 18 to 25 years old.

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