MODESTO (CBS13) — Deputies shot and killed a suspected kidnapper during a hostage situation in a Modesto neighborhood late Wednesday night.
Stanislaus County Sheriffs Deputies found the suspect, Stephen Murray, 52, with the victim. The Modesto Police Department now confirms Murray knew the hostage, who was being held against her will.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office had been actively investigating the reported false imprisonment and suspected kidnapping for over 24 hours.
We now know the victim is Stephen Murray’s wife. We spoke with her mom on the phone, Thursday. She says this is a trying time for both families and wants to protect her daughter’s identity.
The Modesto Police Department is handling this investigation and has not confirmed yet the victim is Murray’s wife.
The incident happened on Vine and Madison streets, in an area where young families live.
Sherlyn Gameros, eight, was put in charge of watching her sister and nephew while her parents looked into the gunfire happening just feet away.
“They said there were so many police, and we couldn’t come outside because the kids shouldn’t come outside, so I had to take care of my cousin and my baby sister,” said Gameros.
She said she was scared but recognized exactly what happened. She says she often hears the sound of gunshots in her neighborhood.
“There’s somebody dead,” she said.
Her aunt tells us this neighborhood is full of kids, and this put everyone on edge.
“I told them not to come out in the night time because you never know what could happen,” said Yezabel Morones.
Modesto Police say the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office had been tracking Stephen Murray and obtained an arrest warrant for kidnapping.
When deputies tried to arrest him, Murray took the victim as a hostage with what looked like a firearm. Deputies shot and killed him. They later learned it was a replica gun. Kalani Souza with the Modesto Police Department explained a replica firearm can be anything from a toy gun to a pellet gun.
Neighbors say they’ve never heard of Murray or his wife, and they don’t know what led him here to the neighborhood.
“We’ve never seen or heard of him here. I have a kid that’s two years old and I’m scared for him because you never know he could be playing outside, and you never know what could happen,” Morones said.
The deputies who were involved in the shooting are from the Stanislaus County Sheriffs Office, but the investigation is being handled by Modesto Police because this happened in the city jurisdiction.
As is protocol, all of the deputies involved have been placed on administrative leave as the investigation is ongoing.