Martinez, who Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Anthony Bejaran said is believed to be a Sureño gang member, was reportedly driving an unidentified SUV with three other men when they passed a quinceañera party at a house on the 400 block of Briggs Avenue at about 7:30 p.m.
A quinceañera is a special birthday party for young women who reach the age of 15. In Latin America, it is considered to mark the transition from childhood to a young woman.
The Patterson man allegedly yelled the word “buster” from the driver’s seat to Norteño gang members at the party, Bejaran said. The term is commonly used by Sureños to insult members of the rival gang.
Partygoers allegedly shouted gang slogans in return, Bejaran said.
Martinez then allegedly drove a quarter-mile to Martin Luther King Drive before returning to the party. This time, Bejaran said, he got out of the SUV and challenged the partygoers to a fight before allegedly pulling out a handgun and running into the crowd while firing.
One shot hit a man thought to be a 18-year-old Norteño gang member, who was taken to a Modesto hospital for treatment. His injuries were not life-threatening, according to Bejaran.
An unidentified partygoer allegedly fired back at Martinez, striking him at least once, the sergeant said. Bejaran would not say where the man was shot, but said he collapsed in the driveway of the home where the party was taking place.
The other men in the SUV reportedly picked up Martinez and drove off, according to Bejaran.
A party attendee had called 911, Bejaran said, and a Modesto police officer pulled over the vehicle thought to be involved in the incident near Martin Luther King Drive and California Avenue, about a half-mile from the shooting.
Martinez was taken to a Modesto hospital, where he died Saturday, Bejaran said.
Detectives believe people left the party before deputies arrived, Bejaran said, and investigators hope to speak with anyone who saw the incident.
Bejaran said detectives also want to speak with the person who shot Martinez, as they do not know that person’s identity.
Anyone with information about the investigation can contact Detective Darwin Hatfield at 525-7100. People can also leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 521-4636; email tips at www.modestopolice.com/CrimeStoppers; or text them to 274637 by typing “Tip704” plus the message and be eligible for a cash reward.
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