MODESTO (CBS13) — A Walmart store in Modesto was evacuated Monday night as police searched for a suspects in a shooting outside the store.
Dozens of police officers were on scene with assault rifles and dogs searching the store at 2225 Plaza Parkway. Shots were fired at a car in the parking lot of the store at around 5 p.m.
The manager of a nearby Fresh Choice restaurant said she heard shots fired toward a white Chrysler, which then pulled up to the restaurant. Amanda Moreno said four people were inside the car and the driver asked if her if one of the shooters was inside the restaurant. She said no and was asked if they went toward Walmart and she said yes.
“We see the poor children a few feet away ducking,” Moreno said. “What if they would have got hit? What if it would have went through my window and hit one of my guests?”
Numerous 911 calls were received reporting that several shots were fired after a verbal altercation between two groups.
Before the gun fire started, shopper Jason Dupriest believes he saw the moments that led up to the shooting.
“They were talking a bunch of gang slang back and forth nd pushing and shoving each other,” he said.
Moments later, the shots rang out.
“Pop, pop, pop, pop,” witness Joe Gonzalez said. “Screams. Get down, get out of the way, take cover.”
The first arriving patrol officer arrived minutes later and spotted a white sedan in the parking lot of the store. Callers had identified the car as being associated with the shooting and officers determined that the car had been struck by at least two rounds. The occupants of the vehicle were detained during the investigation and were later released, police said.
Officers received additional information that another associated male fled back into the store as the officers were detaining the occupants of the vehicle mentioned above. Additionally, a second male was seen running into the Kohl’s store just east of the Walmart. A man was located in the Walmart a short time later and was detained without incident. He was found to be in lawful possession of ammunition he had purchased at Walmart. He was released after being questioned by officers.
Officers received reports that two suspects jumped a retaining wall in the shopping center. A helicopter was called in to help with the search but the suspects weren’t found.
The suspects are described as Hispanic males, both in their mid-20s, about 5 feet, 6 inches tall. The first was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and black pants. The second suspect was wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt and black pants.
Police ask anyone who may have information about the shooting to call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636.