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Employee charged with murder of restaurant owner

POSTED May 6, 2011 9:25 p.m.

An employee at a Modesto Chinese restaurant has been arrested for the bludgeoning death of the eatery’s owner.

The Modesto Police Department announced Friday that they had arrested Zhi Jian Mei, 28, of Modesto for the murder of 47-year-old Wing Ming Chan, hours after Chan’s body was discovered at his China Gourmet Restaurant at 2401 E. Orangeburg Ave.

Shortly after 3 a.m. Thursday some of Chan’s family members went to the restaurant because they were concerned he had not come home when expected. They found him in the restaurant with numerous injuries and called for medical help. When paramedics arrived, they called for the police to respond and Chan was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers immediately began to interview several witnesses, family members, and the restaurant’s employees and quickly identified Mei as the prime suspect.

Mei is an employee at the restaurant. According to Modesto Police spokesman Sgt. Rick Armendariz, investigators learned Mei came to the restaurant after closing Wednesday night, and soon after an argument ensued between the two men.

As the argument escalated, Mei went to the kitchen area of the restaurant and retrieved a large straight edged blocked cleaver type knife and used it to violently assaulted Chan. Chan received numerous injuries as a result of the assault, Armendariz said.  

Mei was contacted at his apartment in the 1400 block of Floyd Ave., Thursday morning and was later booked into the Stanislaus County Jail for one count of murder.      

nvestigators are still continuing to follow-up on this case and ask anyone who may have information regarding this incident to call Detective Jim Munoz at 342-9131 or Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.  Tipsters can also text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Just type “TIP704” along with your message.

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