A gang member wanted in connection with a July 14 shooting in Oakdale was arrested by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday, Aug. 5. Authorities say he is also suspected in the hit-and-run death of Oakdale resident Blake Barry, 20, in Waterford in a case from December of last year.
At 1:23 a.m. Tuesday morning, sheriff’s deputies spotted Jose Esquivias, 25, speeding in a car on South Ninth Street in Waterford and made a traffic stop on the vehicle. During their contact with the driver, Esquivias reportedly gave a false name before being recognized by a deputy at the scene.
On July 16, Oakdale Police had obtained a felony warrant with a $2 million bail charging Esquivias with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and being a felon in possession of a firearm along with enhancements for a gang crime and committing a crime when out on bail for the July 15 shooting of a man at the 7-11 on West F Street.
During the Oakdale incident two men were at the convenience store and when they were leaving, Esquivias allegedly yelled out “Sur Trece” and fired a shot from a chrome revolver out of the passenger side of a parked SUV, striking one of the men in the torso.
“Sur Trece” is translated as “South 13,” and indicates Sureno street gang membership.
Since last December, sheriff’s investigators had been looking for a suspect in the Dec. 29 fatal hit and run of Oakdale resident Blake Barry, 20, when he was run down leaving an E Street party in Waterford and was struck in the 12500 block of Dorsey Street.
Witnesses in the area of the party reported to deputies they heard gunshots just before Barry was hit by the vehicle and it was not clear whether they were connected. The department classified Barry’s death as a homicide.
Over the months several fliers appeared in the area offering a $10,000 reward from Barry’s family and friends for information in the case.
In the course of the investigation, sheriff’s detectives determined Esquivias was a person of interest as either a witness or involved in the Barry incident and was wanted for questioning.
Deputies arrested Esquivias at the scene for the Oakdale warrant and he was being held at Stanislaus County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail. No charges have been filed yet by the District Attorney’s office in the Waterford case.