State

Info weeks away in Modesto deputy shooting

(BART AH YOU/bahyou@modbee.com)
Crime scene at Hays and Donald Streets in Modesto, Friday evening. Numerous Stanislaus Sheriff's patrol cars arrived on scene just before dusk. Residents were being escorted to the end of the street.
Sept 24, 2010
(BART AH YOU/bahyou@modbee.com) Crime scene at Hays and Donald Streets in Modesto, Friday evening. Numerous Stanislaus Sheriff's patrol cars arrived on scene just before dusk. Residents were being escorted to the end of the street. Sept 24, 2010 Modesto Bee

It could be a few weeks before sheriff's officials release more details about what happened when an off-duty detective shot and killed a woman during an argument last week in front of a small west Modesto apartment complex, a department spokesman said Tuesday.

Rita Elias, 31, died after Kari Abbey shot her during the argument between the two.

Once the investigation is complete, sheriff's officials anticipate releasing other details about the encounter, said deputy Andrew Winter.

"We want to be as transparent as we can, as we would do with any other shooting investigation," Winter said.

The shooting occurred about 6:30 p.m. Friday at the single-story apartment complex in the 1700 block of Donald Street.

It wasn't clear what the two women argued about; sheriff's officials would say only that Abbey was in the area on "personal business" with her family at the time.

Attempts to reach Elias' family Tuesday were not successful.

The Sheriff's Department initially reported its investigation into the shooting would be complete later this week. It's now expected to take at least another week.

"(The investigators) are still in the fact-finding stage," said Winter, adding that releasing details now would harm the integrity of the investigation.

Some information will not be released because of employee confidentiality rules.

Once the investigation is complete, sheriff's officials will submit the case to the district attorney's office. Prosecutors will determine whether a crime occurred.

Sheriff's officials have said Elias was holding a gun when Abbey fired her gun multiple times.

Abbey, a family crimes detective, was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such cases.

Neighbors said Abbey is the daughter of the owner and landlord of the complex. James Abbey confirmed Saturday that he is the owner and landlord of the apartment complex, but he declined to comment further.

Sheriff's officials ask anyone with information about this shooting to call Detective Frank Soria at 525-7080 or Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters can e-mail tips through the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.stancrimetips.org, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" and a message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or 578-2394.

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