Ballico man, 71, dead; robbery suspected

vpatton@mercedsun-star.comFebruary 19, 2013 

BALLICO -- A 71-year-old man is dead after being gunned down during a possible home-invasion robbery Tuesday afternoon, according to the Merced County Sheriff's Department.

The victim has been identified by the Sheriff's Department as Ramon Jiminez. Sheriff Mark Pazin said no suspects are in custody and details about the case are sketchy.

"It appears money was the motive, and when none was given, (the robbers) made good on their threat of shooting (Jiminez)," Pazin said. "Truly this person was gunned down in cold blood."

Deputies responded to the scene in a rural area of Merced County after the victim's wife called 911 at 3:46 p.m. to report that her husband had been shot.

The woman told deputies her husband was headed to the store when a vehicle pulled up to the home.

Three men exited the vehicle and began talking to Jiminez. He and the men ended up inside the residence, although Pazin said it's unknown whether Jiminez was forced into the home or went willingly.

The wife overheard the men telling her husband they wanted money. Jiminez replied he didn't have any. The men then threatened Jiminez, saying they would kill his wife if he didn't hand over some money.

The wife said she then heard a gunshot and her husband collapse. The men then fled the scene, Pazin said.

The victim was taken to Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock, where he was pronounced dead.

A description of the men wasn't available Tuesday night, Pazin said, adding that detectives were interviewing family members and neighbors to piece together what happened.

Detectives are asking anyone with details about the crime to call (209) 385-7472. Tips are kept confidential and callers can remain anonymous.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.

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