An illegal sideshow in Turlock led to bedlam on city streets when gunshots rang out, leaving one man dead and another wounded and multiple collisions as participants in the sideshow tried to flee from law enforcement.
The fatal shooting happened as Turlock Police officers were attempting to break up the second of two sideshows that happened over the span of a little over an hour between Friday and Saturday.
The Turlock Police identified the deceased as Dayron Ledezma, 20, of Tracy.
No suspects have been identified at this time.
The chaos of the night began Friday night when multiple vehicles and people had gathered in the neighborhood of South Avenue and Orange Avenue for a sideshow. In a sideshow participants take over a particular area and perform stunts like spinning out around a crowd of onlookers. The spots taken over can vary from a parking lot to a deserted street to a busy intersection to a highway. This sideshow had more than 100 vehicles involved, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Parmley.
At 11:52 a.m. Friday the police department’s dispatch started getting calls about the sideshow and sent out officers to the scene, along with deputies from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.
The plan was to disperse the crowd and traffic enforcement, but quickly turned into something else when people in the crowd started pointing lasers at the officers and deputies.
“Anytime an officer responds to a call and lasers are pointed at them, it escalates into a heightened level of officer safety,” Parmley said. “Officers don’t know if the laser is attached to a firearm or if it is simply a laser pointer. It is never a good position to be in.”
Deputies were attempting to make traffic enforcement stops on some of the participating motorists. According to the police department, at least two drivers failed to comply with those orders, which led to two pursuits, one of which ended with a crash that is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol. Details of the crash have not yet been released by the CHP.
Sideshows are typically organized via social media with the locations closely guarded. It’s not unusual for a sideshow to get broken up only to reassemble later in a different location. That was the case when at 1 a.m. the sheriff’s department’s Air 101 helicopter reported the sideshow was up and running again at the intersection of Fulkerth Road and Tegner Road.
Turlock Police officers were responding to the area with a plan to disperse the crowd when gunshots rang out.
“Responding officers teamed up and headed toward the crowd where the gunshots originated,” Parmley said.
Amidst a panicked crowd and motorists fleeing in all directions, officers found two individuals who had sustained gunshot wounds. Officers immediately began life-saving measures on the 20-year-old man, who was unresponsive. However, his wound proved to be fatal, and he was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The second gunshot victim had a non-life-threatening wound and was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. Getting the man to the hospital took longer than usual because the responding ambulance had trouble getting through the chaos of the crowd and the fleeing vehicles.
While the shots came from within a crowd of people, Turlock Police detectives do not believe it was a random act of violence. It is believed the shooting stemmed from a prior conflict between the victim and the shooter(s), according to the police department.
When additional officers were arriving at the shooting scene, one driver ignored orders to stop and fled the scene. This vehicle was later spotted by deputies in Air 101, which resulted in an attempt of a traffic enforcement stop. That vehicle fled from deputies and ultimately was involved in a traffic collision on Taylor Road, which is also under investigation by the CHP. The details of the crash have not yet been released.
Turlock Police detectives and investigators with the Major Accident Investigations Team responded to the scene to interview multiple witnesses and process the scene. They remained on scene for over eight hours.
While all of this was occurring, a man came into a local area hospital with a gunshot wound, however, claimed it occurred elsewhere. Detectives have determined that it was related to the homicide.
“Detectives are relentlessly working this investigation to determine why this crime occurred,” said Detective Brandon Bertram. “These incidents are a huge drain on our local resources, I would like to thank the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol for their help in response to this incident. We are asking anyone who was a witness to this incident to contact us. We are also asking anyone with videos of the illegal sideshow or shooting to contact Detective Raul Garcia at (209) 664-7314.”
In a released statement, the Turlock Police Department wanted to ensure the public that they “take these illegal sideshow incidents very seriously, as they are very dangerous to our residents and other motorists. The Turlock Police Department continues to dedicate resources to combat these types of illegal sideshow activities in cooperation with our allied agency partners.”
This was not the first time that sideshows in Turlock have turned into a larger incident but was the first time one has turned deadly. In previous incidents there have been crashes and on one occasion a Turlock Fire engine was mobbed by a sideshow crowd.