MODESTO (CBS13) – A massive regional law enforcement presence, including bomb squads and SWAT teams, has responded to a northwest Modesto neighborhood after Deputy Robert Paris and a civilian were shot dead Thursday morning and the suspect has barricaded himself inside his residence.
Sheriff Adam Christianson confirmed Paris was fatally shot in the 2100 block of Chrysler Drive just west of Prescott Road and south of West Rumble Road some time around 11 a.m.
“Deputy Paris paid the ultimate price, sacrificing his life, while protecting and serving the citizens of Stanislaus County,” said Christianson. “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.
Christianson also said a civilian was shot to death in the incident. Neighbors say the civilian may have been a locksmith helping with an eviction. The sheriff confirmed his deputies were executing an eviction.
“This is another dark day for law enforcement. There’s no excuse for this,” Christianson said. “One of my valued members of my team is dead. I am overwhelmingly frustrated with the fact that we don’t have adequate resources to protect the community.”
At least two bomb squads and four SWAT teams were brought in because the suspect may have explosives inside of his Whispering Woods apartment unit. A robot device from the Merced sheriff’s office was being moved in around 5:45 p.m.
Law enforcement agencies from all over the region have responded to the scene, including the FBI. As of 5 p.m., the suspect was still believed to be inside as SWAT units surrounded his apartment.
“We don’t know anything about him. We don’t know a motive,” Christianson said.
Modesto police spokesman Officer Chris Adams said the tactical units were in no hurry to make a move. “At this point, it’s about containment, keeping the suspect within our perimeter and hoping for a safe and peaceful resolution,” he said.
The suspect is being described as Hispanic male, born in 1967, 6 feet, 2 inches, with a military background.
An eyewitness said she heard knocking on the door and then about 10 shots ring out. “At first we just heard knocking, then we heard gun shots and bullets coming out of the door,” Keani Hosino said. “It was pretty nuts.”
“They were just laying there for the longest time till SWAT came and then they picked them up and dragged them away,” she said of the victims. “They were throwing smoke bombs inside, gas bombs. Only like afterwards they let us out because we are right across the street from what happened.”
Another neighbor said he sees the suspect walking around the area in military fatigues at night. “I really can’t call him scary, but he be dressed in a military uniform and walks around the block, stuff like that,” Curtis Dapson said.
Residences in the neighborhood have been evacuated for several hours. The nearby Prescott Evangelical Free Church at Prescott and Rumble is being used for displaced residents and the Red Cross is there.
Rain starting falling at the scene around 12:15 p.m., sending many of the onlookers inside or under tree cover. The rain had cleared again later in the afternoon.
Late Thursday evening, a fire broke out on the home of the suspect.
The Prescott Estates neighborhood is almost entirely apartments and duplexes. It was once considered one of the worst neighborhoods in Modesto but had undergone renovations a few years ago. However, there have been at least two shootings on Chrysler earlier this year and a neighbor said it’s still a dangerous area.