BY SABRA STAFFORD
Special To The Leader
Efforts to take a suspect into custody Thursday on an attempted murder case out of Oakdale prompted a standoff at a Turlock apartment complex that lasted around four hours before the suspect surrendered to law enforcement.
An arrest warrant had been obtained for Jesus Tovar, 37, of Turlock in connection with the March 22 shooting in Oakdale that left a man hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds. That incident occurred at 207 W. North St. in Oakdale.
Tovar was believed to be at an apartment in the Park Knolls complex at 1100 Pedras Road in Turlock on Thursday morning, May 24. Acting on information that he might have firearms in his possession, Oakdale Police detectives requested the assistance of the Turlock Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics team.
The team went out to the area around 8:20 a.m. with an attempt to serve the arrest and search warrants, but Tovar was already attempting to elude capture.
“We believe he saw the SWAT team approaching and was trying to figure out a way to escape,” said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Russ Holeman.
Tovar used a crawlspace in a closet to gain entry into a shared attic space with other apartments. He also made a barricade around the closet in an effort to slow law enforcement down.
SWAT members were able to escort out one adult and two children who had been in the apartment with Tovar. Most of the adjoining apartments were empty at the time of the incident, except one, which had two adult residents inside it. The pair heard the commotion and hid in a closet until SWAT members were able to get them out, Holeman said. Other residents at the apartment complex were advised to shelter in place and a warning was issued by the police department for the public to avoid the area, including Donnelly Park, which is across the street from the apartment complex.
Within 15 minutes the hostage negotiators had arrived at the scene and were able to get a phone to Tovar. The effort to get Tovar to surrender lasted around four hours, before he finally relented and surrendered to law enforcement.
A flash bang was used during the incident and drones were deployed. No shots were ever fired.
Oakdale detectives had identified Tovar as the suspected shooter and after weeks of investigation tracked him to the Turlock apartment complex.
Citizens with any information on the March 22 shooting are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636 and contact Oakdale Police Detective Don Stilwell at 209-847-2231. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.
Tovar was booked into Stanislaus County Jail on the arrest warrant with a $2 million bail for the attempted murder charge.