Fire Erupts in Modesto Apartment After Cop Killed

   on April 13 2012 11:21 AM

The raging fire that broke out in a Modesto, Calif., apartment Thursday belonging to the suspect in the fatal shootings of a deputy and civilian was put out Friday morning.

The situation began when two county deputies delivered an eviction notice to the suspect.

Yemen Zokari and Steven Gasterlum, who live two doors down from the burning apartment, told The Associated Press they looked out their window when they heard gunshots Thursday morning and saw two men lying on the ground.

There was another officer that was kneeling on the side of the house while they were laying there, Zokari said. I think he was staying out of the way from being shot.

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson told The AP he believed his deputies did not return fire.

A nearly 12-hour standoff began after the shootings with the suspect at the Whispering Woods apartment. Police broke the windows of the apartment with bean bags and fired flash grenades and tear gas.

At one time, more than 100 officers from the Central Valley were at the scene and FBI and SWAT teams surrounded the building. Nearby residents were evacuated.

It is not clear how the fire that erupted late Thursday night began, but the Modesto Bee reports that the county sheriff has acknowledged that the flash-bang devices and tear gas could have been responsible.

Modesto police officer Chris Adams told The AP the fire is out and they are waiting for it to be safe enough to go inside.

The suspect is in his mid-40s and may have had military training.

There's not much more information I can give out, a sheriff's spokesman said.

The name of the civilian was not released, but the deceased deputy was identified as 53-year-old Robert Bob Paris.

Bob was a wonderful man, Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson said. This is a guy, when you were around him, he just made things better. He was always positive.

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