A shooting left two people dead in front of the Oakdale Market on East I Street on Sunday night, Nov. 11. Police and sheriff’s department personnel are investigating the crime that has already resulted in one arrest.
An Oakdale police officer was patrolling the neighborhood around 9 p.m. and reported hearing gunshots in the area. The officer came across a group huddled around two subjects, who were both bleeding from gunshot wounds and were down in the market’s parking lot. Additional police units along with medical personnel responded.
Because of the size and the demeanor of the crowd, Oakdale Police had to call for additional units from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department to assist in crowd control and securing the crime scene.
According to neighbors contacted, the subjects on the scene were hostile to the police and at one point a pitbull was being used by an unknown person to “intimidate” the responding officers even as they were trying to give aid.
Abel Calderon, 20, of Oakdale was transported to a local hospital where he later died as a result of his gunshot wounds and Ruben Mora Jr., 15 of Oakdale, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s investigators were called to assist Oakdale Police with the double homicide investigation.
During the initial investigation, officers located a vehicle left behind at the scene they believed was used in connection with the shooting. Inside the vehicle was an assault weapon-type rifle thought to be the gun used in the shooting.
Investigators linked the vehicle to Ryan Mazzariello, 25, of Oakdale.
Sheriff’s Sergeant Anthony Bejaran stated that detectives and police officers went to Mazzariello’s residence in Oakdale and, after a brief discussion, were able to get Mazzariello to surrender.
He was booked at Stanislaus County Jail on suspicion of murder charges Sunday night by Stanislaus County Sheriff’s detectives.
Bejaran said the details of the shooting and a possible motive are being withheld because the incident is still under investigation.
Those contacted by The Leader on Monday indicated that Mazzariello was upset with the “gang element” hanging around in the area and that Mazzariello had reported being threatened at various times by Norteno gang members.
On Monday, two makeshift memorials with photos, handwritten messages, candles and flowers were set up outside the Oakdale Market honoring Calderon and Mora. Those gathered, many dressed in red, comforted each other and talked about the times they spent with the two victims as music played from a car stereo.
“They were just walking to the store and doing nothing when they were gunned down by a psycho,” said one woman who did not want to be identified. “They were way too young.”
“This had nothing to do with gangs even though some guys are here,” said another, pointing to a group in the store parking lot drinking from brown bag covered bottles.
Berta Garcia was in front of the memorial for Calderon praying with a Rosary in hand.
“I knew him since he was a boy and played with my kids and nephews,” said Garcia about Calderon. “He was a good outgoing kid.”
Around 2 p.m. Monday afternoon a fight broke out at the market requiring Oakdale Police to respond. No arrests were made.
That evening well over 100 persons were at the makeshift memorials. There were no reported incidents from that gathering.
Investigators said Mazzariello has a military record. One source said he was still current in the California National Guard. It is unknown if the weapon used is associated to his military service.
This is the first murder case for Oakdale this year.
There have been two gang-related shootings in Oakdale this year. In March, officers responded to a drive-by shooting at a North Oak Avenue home where no one was injured. In May, police investigated a shooting where a house on South Sixth Avenue was sprayed with bullets.
Oakdale Police Chief Lester Jenkins said he made the decision to have the Stanislaus Sheriff’s Department handle the investigation due to his personnel being short-staffed and still impacted by Officer Paul Katusonek’s death in an auto accident a few days earlier, and both Oakdale detectives currently carrying heavy loads of other cases.
“We needed to get it handled correctly and complete and I wasn’t sure we had the resources to do this,” said Jenkins. “It’s not something we’ll be doing on a regular basis.”
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department is continuing the investigation of the double homicide. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Sheriff’s Detective Frank Soria at (209) 525-7080.