MODESTO (CBS13) – The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office has identified the deputy who shot two teens — one critically — after a chase in Modesto.
Deputy Gerardo Zazueta is a field training officer who’s been with the force since 2017, the sheriff’s department confirmed to CBS13.READ MORE: Young Eagles Are Falling From Their Nests Due To NorCal’s Oppressive Heatwave
Just after 2 a.m. on Tuesday, deputies tried to pull over a car at North Carpenter and Torrid for a traffic stop. The 17-year-old driver had just gotten out of a year in juvenile hall, his friends say. He got scared and took off.
At one point during the chase, the teen rammed his vehicle into sheriff’s department vehicles, deputies say. There were four other teenage passengers in the car at the time.
Deputies tried stopping the car with a pit maneuver near the airport. That’s where the shots were fired. The driver was taken to the hospital in critical condition. A preliminary statement from the sheriff’s department reported that a second teen was hit, but they now say the driver was the only one shot.
It’s still under investigation whether these teens had a weapon, but we’re told no one in the car was armed with a gun. They don’t know why Deputy Zazueta opened fire. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office says what led to the shooting is still under investigation.READ MORE: Suspect In Custody After Shooting At House Of Oliver In Roseville
Sheriff’s Sgt. Luke Schwartz says the deputy did not at first know there were teens in the car.
CBS13 asked how would this be handled differently if the sheriff’s office knew there were teens in the car.
“It’s almost impossible for us to do a hypothetical what we may have done differently, but we seek out cooperation each and every time we make contact,” said Sgt. Schwartz.
It took the sheriff’s office almost 15 hours to release details that there were five teens in the car. The sheriff’s office points to the “moving parts” in this investigation for the delay.
The sheriff’s office says it will release the body camera footage of the incident within 45 days, and say they’re focused on transparency.MORE NEWS: Forward Progress Stopped On Fire In El Dorado Hills