Reporting Andrea Menniti
MODESTO (CBS13) – An off-duty federal police officer is accused of killing one man, also a federal officer and his friend, and sending another to the hospital early Sunday morning, but he says he was forced to fire.
Police say it started as a bar fight that spilled into a Modesto strip mall parking lot at about 1:30 a.m..
The off-duty federal officer told police he was acting in self-defense, but investigators still need to hear from witnesses.
“When all this went down it was just total chaos,” said O’Malley’s bar owner John Boyatt.
Boyatt described to CBS13 what went down just before closing early Sunday morning.
“A man came up to our door, up to my bouncer and identified himself as an off-duty officer. He had an emptied gun and a badge and told him he’d just shot three people at the end of the driveway,” said Boyatt.
One man, also a federal officer, was shot to death, another rushed to the hospital. The man killed was identified Monday as Daryl Chargualaf, 34, who reportedly went to the bar with the shooter and appears to have been accidentally shot by his friend during the fight with the other individual. The shooter’s name hasn’t been released because he’s yet to be arrested.
Modesto police say the shooter is an off-duty federal police officer who works for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency in Tracy, where Chargualaf was also an officer. A public affairs officer with that department referred questions to the Modesto Police Department.
“We are aware of the incident, but we will not comment at this time pending the on-going investigation,” Stacy L. Umstead said.
“We are not treating this as an officer-involved shooting incident,” said Lt. Rick Armendariz of the Modesto Police Department. “We are treating it as a shooting and it just happens to involve an off-duty federal officer.”
Chargualaf’s Facebook page says he served in the Air Force and had studied criminal justice at Solano Community College after graduating from Vanden High School in Fairfield.
Investigators say trouble started inside the bar and spilled into the parking lot.
Even though as many as 30 people were around when shots rang out, officers are having a tough time tracking down witnesses needed to piece together what went wrong.
“We are trying to corroborate his info, saying that he acted in self-defense. We are looking for info that corroborates that or dispels that,” said Armendariz.
The parking lot shooting left neighbors on edge.
“Sirens and a lot of police activity in the area, it’s very rare in this neighborhood. I really don’t hear much,” said resident Wendy Wong.
Modesto police are not saying how many shots were fired or what type of gun was used, citing the ongoing investigation.