Details are slowly beginning to emerge in Saturday's shooting death of 17-year-old Bidal Taito, who police say was killed by a resident who claimed his residence was being broken into.
Taito, 17, died at a Modesto hospital after being shot in an alleyway near the 100 block of West K St. at 9:51 p.m. Family members say the boy was shot in the back.
Police said they responded to an emergency call from a male resident in the 100 block of West K Street, who reported someone was attempting to kick in his door. Moments later he told the dispatcher that he'd shot the suspect and needed help.
On Tuesday, Police Chief Gary Brizzee revealed the shooter fired from inside his home — and the bullets traveled through the front door, striking Taito. Brizee said there's no evidence the occupant stepped outside his home to shoot Taito.
Police acknowledged Tuesday the shooter's the son of a former employee of the Los Banos Police Department. Police have stopped short of disclosing the shooter's name.
No arrest has been made because of the ongoing investigation, Brizzee said, not because of favoritism. "There is no weight being given to who the person is related to. When the investigation is complete there will be a (decision) on whether an arrest will be made," Brizzee said.
In addition, Brizzee also revealed police are looking for a person they believe was with Taito at the time of the shooting. No details on that person's possible identity, however, have been disclosed.
Brizzee said he's conferred with the Merced County District Attorney's Office about the case. Brizzee also said he's waiting on autopsy and toxicology test results, which can take weeks.
Taito's family and friends said the idea that he'd try to bust through the door of someone's home doesn't make sense. "He was always with a smile, trying to make somebody laugh," Taito's mother Corina said. "He liked boxing, karate, he had a lot of energy and I tried to focus it."
His mother said she moved her family to Los Banos from the Bay Area for a cheaper cost of living in 2006. Her son, who was nicknamed "Tarzan" because of his love for the fictional character, attended Westside Union Elementary, Los Banos Junior High School and Los Banos High School before running into academic and behavioral issues in his sophomore year. "My son had ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and he would kind of get upset," Corina Taito said.
She said Bidal would get into fights at school and was under threat of expulsion when she took him out of Los Banos High. Corina Taito said San Luis High School would not accept her son because he had so few academic credits. She enrolled him in Valley Community School instead.
Bidal Taito acted out more following the death of his cousin from a respiratory ailment, according to his family. His aunt Gloria Robles said her son, who was a year older than Bidal, was a role model for her nephew. Robles said Bidal was not the type of child who would break down someone's door. "If somebody said something about his brother or his dad that was his(trigger), but he wouldn't just go around and...," Robles said before sobbing uncontrollably.
Briana Huerta, 17, met Bidal at Valley Community School. "He was nice. He was loud, friendly and talkative. Anybody who needed him, he was there,” Huerta said. “I got pregnant at a young age and he was there for me through everything."
Ana Urberuaga knew Bidal since he was 7-years-old when she became friends with his mother. She said he was fun-loving and hyper. They thought of each other as family. “I moved into my own house and he would come knock on the door, ‘auntie, I was in the area can I get some water?'" Urberuaga recounted. “I’d say ‘go ahead, you don’t gotta ask.’ I’m not ever going to get that back, my baby’s gone.”
Urberuaga said Bidal was not violent or involved in gangs and she doesn't understand why he was killed. "Everybody had love and respect for him and he had love and respect for everybody else," she said.
Huerta and Urberuaga participated in a car wash and barbecue fundraiser Tuesday with the money going toward Bidal's funeral costs.
Corina Taito said she would like the shooter arrested immediately. She said the circumstances of the incident are irrelevant. "My son was still shot as his back was turned. To me there's no question," Corina Taito said.
Enterprise Reporter Corey Pride can be reached at (209) 388-6563 or firstname.lastname@example.org.