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Modesto gunman who killed deputy presumed dead in fire

April 13, 2012 |  8:09 am

A man who fatally shot a sheriff’s deputy and a civilian is presumed dead, and the raging fire that ignited during a standoff at his Modesto apartment was extinguished early Friday morning.

Officials believe the gunman was killed sometime Thursday in the midst of a 12-hour standoff, which began when sheriff’s deputies attempted to serve an eviction notice, the Modesto Bee reports.  

At one point, the standoff involved more than 100 law enforcement officers, who broke the windows of the apartment with bean bags, then shot tear gas into the unit, the Bee reported.

Flames were pouring from the top of the building around 10 p.m. Thursday, as seen in TV footage. Shortly before midnight, according to the Associated Press, fire officials saw signs the structure was collapsing.

It was unclear as of 6 a.m. Friday how the fire started. The names of the gunman and the civilian were not released, but the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department identified the deputy as 16-year veteran Robert Paris.

“One of my valued members of my team is dead,” Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said Thursday, according to the Bee, his voice shaking.

The standoff began around 11 a.m. Thursday and continued late into the night. Around 9 p.m., the Bee reported, six SWAT officers rushed the apartment while officers used loudspeakers to communicate with a man they called "Jimmy."

By 9:45 p.m., officials reported that a fire had broken out on the second floor, though the suspect was believed to be on the first floor. By 10:20 p.m., video footage shows flames spewing into the air.

Several calls from The Times to the sheriff’s department were not returned, but Christianson told local reporters that Thursday was a “tragic day for law enforcement and public safety."


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-- Matt Stevens