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Additional arrest made for fatal Turlock shooting
Eric Rodriguez
Eric Rodriguez

The Turlock Police Department has arrested another suspect in connection with the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old man outside a Turlock motel.

The shooting happened around 4:15 a.m. Sept. 7 at a motel in the 200 block of N. Tully Road.

The first officers to arrive at the scene found Mario Meza, 26, of Modesto with a single gunshot wound. He was rushed to an area hospital, where he died from his injuries during surgery, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Parmley.

Ceres resident Miguel Saldate, 19, was located at the scene of the shooting. He was not injured and was taken to the police department for questioning, Parmley said. Saldate was subsequently arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, as well as other felony charges, according to the police department. Saldate’s arrest for attempted murder relates to other individuals involved in the incident and not Meza.

Detectives assigned to this investigation followed up on leads and were able to identify another involved subject, identified as Juan Jose Cruz Jr., 19, of Modesto.

Cruz was questioned at the Turlock Police Department on Sept. 9 and subsequently arrested Wednesday afternoon for homicide, attempted homicide, aggravated assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Cruz was later booked into the Stanislaus County Jail.

Detectives developed additional information regarding another involved suspect, identified as Eric Rodriguez, 26, of Patterson.

Around 9:48 a.m. Thursday, detectives located Rodriguez at a hotel in the 27000 block of California Highway 33 in Newman.

"Upon contacting Rodriguez in a vehicle, he fled and led officers on a brief pursuit," Parmley said. "Rodriguez drove into a nearby orchard, abandoned his vehicle and continued to flee on foot."

A search was conducted in the area and Rodriguez was eventually apprehended several miles away in the 100 block of East 5th Street in Crows Landing.

Rodriguez was questioned at the Turlock Police Department and was subsequently arrested and booked at the Stanislaus County Jail for homicide, attempted homicide, shooting at an occupied vehicle, evading a peace officer, felon in possession of a firearm and participating in a criminal street gang.

Investigators suspect the shooting was gang-related, Parmley said.

“This remains an on-going investigation and detectives are working to identify all of the parties involved in this incident,” Parmley said.

Turlock Police Detectives ask that anyone with information, to call Detective Timothy Redd at (209) 664-7325. You can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780 or email at

The Turlock Police Department is an active participant in the Crime Stoppers Program. Callers can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 and may be eligible for a cas