State

Shot Modestan dies after crash; white compact car is sought

Detectives on Wednesday evening continued investigating the death of a 30-year-old man who was found with a gunshot wound inside a car that crashed into a tree Tuesday night in west Modesto.

Enrique Garcia Jr., 30, of Modesto had at least one gunshot wound and suffered injuries from the crash, said Sgt. Rick Armendariz, a Modesto police spokesman.

Initial witness reports mistakenly described the shooting and subsequent crash as a possible road rage incident, but Armendariz said the shooting now appears to be gang- related.

The second vehicle involved in the incident appeared to be a white compact car. Investigators were trying to determine whether the shots were fired from vehicle to vehicle.

He said it hadn't been determined whether Garcia died from the gunshot wound or injuries from the crash. He said the shooting and the crash are related.

No arrests have been made, and no suspects have been identified.

The incident occurred shortly before 8 p.m., when gunshots were heard near Locust Street and North Martin Luther King Drive.

Armendariz said it appeared there was a conflict between Garcia and other people in the area of the shooting.

A few minutes later, police received reports of a car that had crashed into a tree on South Madison Street, north of Maple Street and less than two blocks southeast of the reported shooting.

The dark gray compact car crashed head-on into the tree and came to rest on the sidewalk on the east side of Madison, facing south. The car's front end sustained major damage, and one of its headlights was found about 15 feet away.

Inside the car, firefighters and Modesto police found Garcia with a gunshot wound. He was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Bullet holes were found in the car, Armendariz said.

Nearby residents said they heard gunshots coming from a few blocks northwest of the crash site, then heard the car crash into the tree.

Daniel Marsh said the incident occurred near his house. He was talking on the phone when he heard the shots, then the sound of screeching tires. He said he didn't see a thing.

"I heard about four or five shots," he said. "It was like a bang, bang, pop, pop."

Police ask anyone with information about this shooting to call Detective Ra Pouv at 572-9826 or Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters also can e-mail tips through the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.modestopolice.com/CrimeStoppers, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus a message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

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