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Shooting victim is 'recovering' after Five Points

A 40-year-old Modesto resident is "stable and recovering" in an area hospital after being shot multiple times by a police officer Christmas Eve, Modesto police said Saturday.

Police believe Michael Salgardo was under the influence of alcohol as he attempted to sell what appeared to be a pellet or BB gun as a real weapon in downtown Modesto.

Officer Kalani Souza, one of two officers dispatched to the junction of J Street and McHenry Avenue, fired his weapon multiple times, striking Salgardo in the lower body.

Souza, a five-year law enforcement veteran, is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by detectives and the Stanislaus County district attorney's office.

No criminal charges have been filed against Salgardo, police spokesman Sgt. Brian Findlen said, adding that Salgardo has a history of previous arrests and mental health issues.

Thursday's incident was the third officer-involved shooting by a Modesto police officer in two weeks and the fifth this year.

The incident began in front of Suzie's Adult Superstore on McHenry Avenue, less than block north of the shooting scene.

One man approached another man in front of the adult store and apparently tried to sell him the gun, police said.

The second man didn't buy the gun but called police instead.

The caller told police a man tried to sell him a 9mm handgun and then described the man.

Officers responded and found a man matching the caller's description in front of a nearby Jack in the Box about 6:20 p.m., where the confrontation took place.

Although Souza has not been interviewed, a Modesto police spokesman said the officer gave the suspect verbal commands before the shooting.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at mbalassone@modbee.com or 578-2337.

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