Suspect arrested in Modesto stroller shooting; one man still sought

Travis Lee Stephenson.
Travis Lee Stephenson. MPD

Detectives had arrested one man and are looking for another in connection with a brazen drive-by shooting that seriously injured a man as he walked with his girlfriend and pushed their baby son in a stroller in Modesto’s La Loma neighborhood Monday morning, a police spokesman said today.

Travis Lee Stephenson, 19, of Modesto, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and using a firearm to commit a felony, said Modesto police Sgt. Brian Findlen. Stephenson was booked at the Stanislaus County Jail, where he was being held today. His bail was set at $775,000.

Detectives are looking for Michael Calhoun, 39, of Modesto, who is wanted for questioning about his suspected involvement in the crime, Findlen said.

Authorities found Stephenson about 9:30 p.m. Monday at a South Avenue home in Delhi and took him into custody without incident.

The 33-year-old injured man was taken by ambulance to a Modesto hospital, where he underwent surgery Monday afternoon. Findlen said the man’s condition had stabilized Monday night, and he was expected to survive his injuries.

Authorities did not release the victim’s name or the hospital’s to ensure his protection. The baby and his mother were not injured.

The shooting occurred about 11:15 a.m. near the intersection of La Loma and Santa Rosa avenues. The couple and their son were headed east when approached by a silver four-door Honda sedan headed west, toward downtown.

Detectives believe Stephenson recognized the victim, slowed his car, and fired several shots at the victim, Findlen said. Stephenson was seen driving away in the Honda south on Santa Rosa Avenue.

Findlen said several bullets struck the man, who suffered gunshots wounds in the upper body and torso. At least one bullet pierced the stroller but did not hit the baby.

After the father was shot, he ran for about half a block in an apparent attempt to get away from the shooter. He fell and lay bleeding on a lawn near La Loma and Las Palmas avenues.

A witness said a public transit vehicle pulled over and the driver took the baby, stroller and mother inside for protection in case the shooter returned.

Findlen said detectives do not believe the shooting was a random act. The victim and the attacker had at least one previous encounter, Findlen said.

The investigation led police to stop a silver Honda about 5 p.m. near 10th and I streets in downtown Modesto.Findlen said several people were detained and questioned, however, no arrests were made. Detectives did not believe this Honda was the same car used in the shooting.

Police then learned that Stephenson was hiding at a home in the 14000 block of South Avenue in Delhi.Detectives took Stephenson into custody with help from the Modesto police Street Crimes Unit and the Merced County Sheriff’s Special Weapons And Tactics team.

Police ask anyone with information about Calhoun's whereabouts to call the Modesto Police Department at 572-9500 or Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters also can e-mail tips through the Crime Stoppers Web site or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing “Tip704” plus your message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at or 578-2394.

Related stories from Merced Sun-Star