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Gang violence erupts outside Turlock liquor store
One dead, one in custody and two more sought by police
Manuel Maldonado
Manuel Maldonado

A 28-year-old man was stabbed to death Friday morning in an apparent targeted act of gang violence, according to the Turlock Police Department.

The victim, whose name has not been released at this time, was stabbed in his upper body at least once during the assault. The attack was caught on video surveillance, which aided in the capture of one suspect a few hours later.

The incident began at 8:18 a.m. Friday when the police department received a report of a stabbing near the intersection of Lander and Bernell avenues.

The first officers to arrive at the scene found the victim, a 28-year-old Hispanic man, with life-threatening wounds. Immediate first-aid was administered at the scene and then the victim was rushed to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Video surveillance obtained during the investigation showed the victim with several other men standing outside a liquor store in the 900 block of Lander Avenue.

As they are standing around, a black 2003 GMC Yukon pulled up and three Hispanic adult males got out of the vehicle, according to the police department.

An altercation starts between the two parties and the victim is seen running across Lander Avenue with two of the suspects chasing after him.

One of the suspects caught up with the victim and stabbed him at least once in the upper body.

The three suspects all got back into the GMC Yukon and left the area, according to the police department. The vehicle was last seen traveling north on Lander Avenue.

Within three hours of the attack, the GMC Yukon was spotted in the 600 block of Vermont Street and was stopped. The driver, Manuel Maldonado, 29, of Turlock was taken into custody and interviewed at the Turlock Police Department before being booked at the Stanislaus County Jail on a homicide charge.

Although the motive is unclear, detectives have preliminary information to suggest this is likely a gang motivated crime. There is no indication that this was a random act of violence.

“Gang violence will not be tolerated in Turlock,” said Turlock Police Chief Jason Hedden. “We have one suspect in custody and our detectives and Special Investigations Unit will not stop until we have all of the suspects involved, in police custody. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this morning’s homicide victim as they mourn the loss of their son and brother.”

This is not Maldonado’s first accusation of gang violence. In 2011, he was arrested for attempted murder on allegations he shot a 26-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy on Oct. 22 in the 600 block of Chestnut Street.

During that investigation, detectives learned Maldonado was hiding out at a home in the 500 block of Vermont Avenue. Because Maldonado, who was 19 years old at the time, was considered armed and dangerous, the police department deployed their critical response team, which consists of hostage negotiators and S.W.A.T. personnel. They surrounded the home and ordered Maldonado to surrender, but he refused. A nearly six-hour standoff ensued. It came to an end when the S.W.A.T. team set off tear gas in the home, forcing him to flee, which led to his arrest.

Maldonado ended up taking a plea deal and served a short sentence.

In 2020, he was arrested again as part of a sweeping investigation into the Norteno criminal street gang. It began as an investigation into a home invasion robbery at a home in rural Turlock and led to the arrests of 23 people, including Maldonado and the seizure of guns, cash and narcotics.

The Turlock Police Department asks that anyone with information about this investigation to call Detective Frank Navarro at (209) 664-7319. 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 cash reward.