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Authorities release identity of slain student from Modesto

Authorities have identified the Modesto teen shot and killed in Stockton early Friday as Jessica M. Perez.

She was a ninth grader at Johansen High School. Authorities have said she was 15 years old, but her family said she was 14.

Jessica and a 17-year-old boy were in the 2700 block of Springhill Drive shortly after midnight when they were shot. The shooting was in a neighborhood just north of the Van Buskirk Golf Course, west of Interstate 5.

Authorities have said the boy is expected to recover. Jessica was taken to San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp, where she died, said San Joaquin County sheriff’s Lt. Joe Herrera on Sunday.

One of Jessica’s aunts said the family does not know the 17-year-old boy.

“We don’t even know his name,” Rosie Perez said Sunday.

Perez said her niece was outgoing and friendly and doted on her younger brother and sister. Jessica also had an older brother.

Perez said since Jessica’s death her family has looked at her journals and diaries and they are filled with notes of how much the teen loved her family.

“She’s always been a very happy girl,” Rosie Perez said.

Perez said the family did not want to talk about the day Jessica was shot.

Johansen High Principal Kevin Salaiz said his school’s five counselors will be ready Monday to help students cope with Jessica’s death. Salaiz said more counselors can be called in if needed.

Students have not been on campus since Wednesday, the day before the start of a four-day Veterans Day weekend.

Officer Pete Smith, a Stockton police spokesman, said detectives did not have additional information to release Sunday. He said the next public update would be Monday morning. Police have released few details in the shooting, including a motive.

Rosie Perez said Jessica and her family moved to Modesto from the Bay Area when Jessica was a toddler.

Perez said Jessica graduated from Roosevelt Junior High School and was eager about starting high school.

The teen loved the social life of school and wanted to be a nurse when she grew up.

Perez, who lives in San Jose, said she last saw her niece in August.

“She was excited about the start of the new school year,” Perez said as she choked back tears. “I told her to worry about school and to listen to her mom.”

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or 578-2316.

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