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SWAT surrounds Hughson apartment complex
Belmudez Juan Perez
Juan Perez Belmudez

A Hughson man is sitting behind bars in Stanislaus County Jail after allegedly shooting a man in the finger and sparking a four-hour standoff with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team.

The suspect was identified as Juan Perez Belmudez, 29, by the sheriff’s department.

The incident began around 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the area of Cox Lane. Antonio Ruiz of Hughson told deputies he had been hanging out and drinking with friends when Belmudez arrived at the scene.

A verbal argument developed between the two men and Ruiz attempted to leave, but was again confronted by Belmudez, this time inside Ruiz’s car, said sheriff spokesman Sgt. Keith Rakoncza.

Inside the car Belmudez drew out a handgun and pointed it at Ruiz, Rakoncza said.

The men struggled over the gun and during the scuffle the gun was discharged and struck Ruiz in one of his fingers.

Belmudez immediately fled the area and the sheriff’s department was contacted.

As deputies were gathering the details of the incident they heard a burst of gunfire coming from somewhere close by.

The deputies at the scene were informed by dispatch that several witnesses had called 911 and reported seeing Belmudez shoot a handgun into the air in front of an apartment complex on Tully Road in Hughson.

Belmudez fled and holed himself up in an apartment as the deputies arrived and established a perimeter around the area, Rakoncza said.

The Special Weapons and Tactics team was deployed and nearby residents were removed from the area as a precaution.

For four hours the SWAT team stood at the ready outside the apartment while the Hostage Negotiators team attempted to persuade Belmudez to surrender. Eventually the suspect left his residence and was taken into custody.

Belmudez was charged with assault with a firearm, negligent discharge of a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

This is not the first time Hughson deputies have had to deal with Belmudez, Rakoncza said. Belmudez, who also goes by the last name of Perez, was arrested in 2010 for possession of a concealed firearm and shooting a firearm in a negligent manner.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.