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Gunman shoots man walking on sidewalk

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POSTED January 27, 2009 1:10 a.m.
A man was shot on the sidewalk of an East Manteca neighborhood just northeast of Doctors Hospital Monday prompting a citizen to pursue the gunman and two other subjects in his private car as they fled from the scene.
The sounds of gunfire rattled the neighborhood of Lovell and Northwoods avenues at about 7:20 p.m. when a man believed to be in his early 20s walked up to a group standing near the corner and fired five shots, according to Manteca Police.
The victim, believed to be in his mid 20s, was hit twice in the legs and was rushed to Doctors Hospital by friends as police and medics sped to the scene.
The citizen who gave chase called police from his cell phone alerting them to the suspect’s direction of travel - staying behind the car all the way to rural Escalon. The initial police dispatch said the car possibly contained three men who were armed and dangerous.
The shooter was described as wearing a white shirt and baggie jeans, wearing a hoodie with a beanie pulled down over his eyes.  He was believed to be carrying a silver hand gun.
Officer Stephen Dowswell responded from the police department in the 1000 block of West Center Street with red lights and siren. The suspect vehicle was traveling east bound on Yosemite Avenue turning into Highway 120 heading for Escalon.
The last report from the citizen to the pursuing officer said the red ‘92 Geo was just ahead of him on River Road near Sexton. Doswell said he caught up and passed the chase vehicle beyond Sexton Road but couldn’t see another car in front of him.
He realized the suspects must have gone north on Sexton and pulled a U-turn reversing his direction.  The officer said he couldn’t have been 10 seconds behind them when he pulled up to their smoking car abandoned next to an orchard.  He said he could hear them running away when he got out of his patrol car.
The actual stop was at 18900 Sexton Road where officers believe the engine of the car blew out disabling the vehicle.
The suspects’ Geo was still in gear and hadn’t been put into park when the men ran from the pursuing officer. Not immediately having a backup he said he wasn’t about to run into the orchard after them.
Detective Sam Gallego was the first other officer to arrive at the scene.  Officers from the Manteca department along with two sheriff’s deputies, and four highway patrolmen arrived on the scene to help search for the men.  Dowswell coordinated the search effort in the orchards.
They reportedly found foot prints that led them to the east through the entire orchard and then into a walnut orchard but the dogs lost their tracking at that point.  Police believed the men must have cut to the south. 
The California Highway Patrol sent their helicopter to the scene with their heat-seeking equipment looking for the men in and around the trees. Police dogs were also called into the search attempting to track the suspects through the orchard. Footprints went in an easterly direction.
Police found an empty farm house that had its door kicked in. They searched the house but reportedly found no one inside. The search was called off after about two hours.
The scene of the shooting on Northwoods Avenue was cordoned off with yellow crime tape across the street and the intersection for over two hours not allowing traffic to go through the area.
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