MODESTO, Calif — Modesto deputies fatally shot a man armed with a fake gun late Wednesday night while investigating reports of kidnapping and false imprisonment, the police department said in a Facebook post.
According to the Modesto Police Department, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputies spotted 52-year-old Stephen Murray near Vine and Madison streets with the alleged female kidnapping victim.
Officials later said the woman had been held against her will for more than 24 hours.
Deputies said they issued an arrest warrant, but Murray took the victim hostage with a gun and placed the woman in between himself and deputies. Deputies shot Murray and later found he was armed with a replica gun, but it's unclear what happened immediately before the shots were fired.
"He did have the kidnapping victim with him and she was being held hostage, sometime during that incident, he did display some sort of firearm which was recovered at the scene and later deemed to be a replica firearm and that's what prompted the officer involved shooting," Sgt. Kalani Souza, a spokesman for the Modesto Police Department said.
Murray was pronounced dead at the scene. The alleged kidnapping victim was not injured.
"It happened so fast, it was just unexpected," Kathlina Perez, a neighbor said.
Perez has lived in the neighborhood near Vine and Madison for more than 44 years and while shootings have happened here before, she's never seen anything quite like this.
"We didn't hear no sirens, we just heard vroom like a car go by really fast, and we looked that way and that's when we noticed the van jumped the curb, and when the van hit the curb, we heard, 'put the gun down, put the gun down, put the gun down'," she said.
She lives only one house down from where this all happened on the sidewalk outside of her neighbor's home.
"Then I heard pop, pop, pop, about 8 or 9 shots that I thought I heard, and then I heard a girl screaming 'oh my god, oh my god, oh my god' and they grabbed the girl out of the van and they ran that way with her and then I looked that way and saw the guy was on the ground," she said.
Investigators say Murray was wanted on kidnapping charges, weapons violations and auto theft.
Since the shooting happened in Modesto city limits, the Modesto Police Department is in charge of the investigation. All deputies involved with this shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave.
If you have any information regarding the shooting, call the Modesto Police Department at (209)572-9500.
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