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Stabbing victim dies

Attack took place at night near Manteca High

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POSTED October 15, 2011 2:31 a.m.

Police officers and medics rushed to the aid of a mortally injured man Thursday night who had been stabbed in the back and side multiple times and left on a side-street sidewalk south of Manteca High School.

A Manteca Police dispatcher got the call at about 8 p.m. reporting an assault victim who had collapsed on Sherman Avenue just feet north of Moffat Boulevard. 

Drake Benton, 24, was transported to Doctors Hospital of Manteca where he succumbed to his injuries, police said. 

Detectives were called out to the scene and spent the night securing evidence and talking to possible witnesses they could locate in the area just adjacent to the Rose Motel.  Detective Steve Harris said Thursday night’s murder didn’t appear to be gang related, adding that the investigation is on-going.

On Friday someone placed two yellow roses in the center of a large blood stain that had dried into the concrete sidewalk where Benton fell from his attacker.

Police are urging any witnesses with information about the murder to call Detective Gregg Beall at (209) 456-8164.  To provide information and remain anonymous and qualify for a reward of up to $1,000 call Crime Stoppers at 823-4636.

The last murder in the region involved burglary suspect Brett Andrew Phares, 28, who fled police running across Highway 99 at Yosemite Avenue September 3 and allegedly caused the death of a Ceres woman riding on the back of her husband’s motorcycle that crashed when traffic backed up.

On Sept. 25 Luis Angel Barraza, 19, of Hayward was gunned down and killed in Lathrop following a large party that was held at a residence in that community.

On Aug. 27 Jorge M. Fernandez of Tracy was charged with the murder of Dean Ponsiano, 46, after allegedly striking him in front of his Woodward Park area home following a children’s birthday party.  The victim reportedly hit his head in the street causing major head trauma.  He died in a Modesto hospital several days later.

On Aug. 15, Danny Martinez, 26, of Lathrop and formerly of Manteca and a 30-year-old friend were beaten and shot with gunfire erupting around 6:30 p.m. in an industrial park district in the 17000 block of Ideal Parkway north of East Highway 120 between Austin and Jack Tone roads.  Martinez, who had attended Manteca schools was mortally wounded in the shooting.

And on July 27 of last year at about 4 a.m. Derrick Gann, 19, of Manteca was shot multiple times and collapsed as he ran from a shooter.  He was found lying in the center of Yosemite Avenue just west of Powers Avenue.

A friend Jeffery Charles Atteberry, 18, was also struck by gunfire numerous times, according to police, as he too was believed to have been running from the shooter. He made it to the front door of a nearby convenience store where he collapsed, police said.

During the summer months officers were kept busy with numerous gang-related drive-by shootings, knifings and burglaries throughout the community. On June 18 in particular between 2 and 5 a.m. police were running from one call to another from a victim with multiple slash wounds to shots being fired while subjects with a U-haul truck were busy burglarizing the Valero Food Mart in the 1400 block of West Yosemite Avenue.

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