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Modesto police release name of officer who shot suspect

A 10-year veteran of the Modesto police force was the officer who shot a suspect during a pursuit last week, authorities said.

Officer Jon Griffith, 32, was back to work this week after taking two paid administrative days off after the Wednesday night shooting, Lt. Chris Fuzie of the Modesto Police Department said.

The leave is standard procedure after any officer-involved shooting.

Griffith fired a shot at 22-year-old Julio Munoz Jr. of Modesto. Munoz led police on a chase that started in Modesto's airport neighborhood and ended seven minutes later in a crash in north Ceres.

During the chase, Munoz's pickup spun out and stopped, facing the police car. Fuzie did not know if Munoz intended to face the police car or whether he lost control.

Fuzie said Griffith got out of his car and yelled commands at Munoz.

Munoz then rammed the police car, and Griffith fired, Fuzie said. Munoz was hit once in his arm.

Munoz got back into his car and the pursuit continued until he crashed the pickup.

The same incident led to the injury of a second officer.

During the pursuit, Munoz's pickup collided with a police motorcycle ridden by officer Bill Chastain, 44. Chastain was able to stay upright and brought the motorcycle to a safe stop, Fuzie said.

Chastain, a 13-year veteran of the force, suffered minor injuries.

Munoz was treated at a hospital before he was taken to jail. He faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, possession of a firearm, evading a peace officer, hit-and-run and violating probation.

The Police Department is conducting an internal investigation into the shooting.

The Stanislaus County District Attorney's office is conducting a parallel investigation, which is standard practice in any officer-involved shooting, Fuzie said.

Bee Online Editor Brian Clark can be reached at bclark@modbee.com or 578-2362.

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