Turlock teenager dies from stabbing
A week that saw teenagers celebrating graduations across the city ended in tragedy when Turlock Police detectives were called out to investigate the death of a 17-year-old who was fatally stabbed leaving a party.
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Suspect arrested in Georgia for Turlock homicide
Gary Harold Jackson
Gary Harold Jackson

Gary Harold Jackson walked into a Cobb County, Georgia police station with the intention of obtaining an alcohol permit. He ended up in handcuffs and facing extradition back to California to face charges for a fatal shooting in downtown Turlock.

Jackson, 22, of Patterson is suspected of firing the fatal shots that killed Romeo Xavier Portillo, 21, of Patterson and wounded a 20-year-old Patterson man on Jan. 14 in downtown Turlock.

“We will not tolerate violent crime in Turlock,” Chief Jason Hedden said.  “Our team is relentless and they will not stop until those who commit crime in our community are arrested, charged, and held accountable for their actions.”

Just after 2 a.m. on Jan. 14, the Turlock Police Department dispatched officers to the area of Market Street and South Broadway after receiving calls reporting rounds of gunfire. Officers quickly arrived at the scene and found evidence of a shootout and that someone had been wounded, but everyone involved had already fled the scene. 

Officers started searching the area and located a gray 2018 Honda sedan in the area of East Main Street and Bonita Avenue. The two passengers in the Honda – Portillo and the 20-year-old both had sustained gunshot wounds, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Parmley. 

Officers provided immediate medical care for the two gunshot victims until emergency medical personnel arrived and transported them to local area hospitals. Portillo died as a result of his injuries.

Jackson was in the vehicle with the two victims and was taken into custody at the time for possession of a loaded and concealed firearm. 

In the early days of the investigation the police department stated that evidence collected at the scene showed that more than one firearm was used. Turlock Police Detectives served several search warrants related to this investigation and all firearms believed to have been used in the homicide have been recovered, Parmley said.

On March 23, investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Jackson. Five days later, on March 28, Jackson went to the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department and submitted an application for an alcohol permit. The warrant came up during a criminal history check and within minutes Jackson was taken into custody by the department’s violent crime bureau.

Turlock Police Detectives are actively working with Cobb County Sheriff’s Department to extradite Jackson back to Stanislaus County where he will face homicide and attempted homicide charges. 

 “Our sympathy goes out to the victim’s family, and we hope the arrest of Jackson will help bring some sense of closure as they continue to mourn the loss of Romeo,” said Turlock Police Detective Gina Giovacchini.
Although Jackson and Portillo were known to one another, the motive for this crime is not being released at this time.

“I could not be more pleased with the dedication Turlock Police Department Detectives have demonstrated,” said Turlock Police Capt. Miquel Pacheco. “They have shown the tenacity required to bring resolution to long-term investigations.”

The Turlock Police Department asks that anyone with information about this investigation to call Detective Gina Giovacchini at (209) 668-6539.  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.