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Gun play outside B&G Club
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First there was a call to police shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday night about a verbal confrontation between two rival gangs in front of the Boys and Girls Club – and then a second call of shots fired in the same area where children were participating in activities inside the building.

Manteca Police officer Greg Beal followed the suspect GMC pickup truck from the area of Alameda and Acacia avenues eventually making a traffic stop in the 100 block of West Yosemite Avenue.  

Officer Elliott Eichel was the second officer to pull up behind what was believed to be the shooter’s pickup.   There were three men in the front seat with a loaded revolver and, unknown to officers, there were another five juveniles hiding under a plastic tarp in the bed of the truck.

The half dozen patrolmen on duty would have had their hands full with two separate crime scenes a half mile apart had not five motorcycle traffic officers been nearby conducting a DUI saturation patrol.

The three men were ordered out of the cab of the truck, one at a time, by officers who were treating the situation as a high risk traffic stop with their guns drawn.  The three were directed to walk backwards away from their pickup truck toward officers until they were put down and handcuffed by patrolmen.

Police then ordered those in the bed of the truck to exit one at a time – one officer was quoted as saying, they just kept coming out from under the plastic tarp.

Two occupants of the truck were arrested at the scene.  They were Joseph Anthony Lazares, 19, of Manteca.  He was charged with being a gang member with a firearm, possession of stolen property and participating in a street gang.  He was transported to San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp.

Lazares  is being held in lieu of $553,000 bail with his court appearance set for May 7, at 1:30 p.m. in the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court.  

A 17-year-old juvenile of Manteca was taken to juvenile hall with identical charges including being a participant in a street gang.

Crime scene tape sealed off the Alameda Street area from traffic as was the case with the 100 block of West Center.  One motorcycle officer was stationed at each end of the block to keep vehicles from entering that crime scene.

Officers reportedly located multiple shell casings from a hand gun on Alameda Street.  It was not clear whether the shells matched the gun found in the truck.

Police said a revolver was located in the cab and a clip to a semi-automatic hand gun clip was located at the Alameda Street location.  The gun had reportedly been stolen.

Officers interviewed witnesses at the original scene of the fight to determine just who was involved.  Evidence showed that a gun had been fired, police said.

The five juveniles who had been in the back of the pickup were counseled and released at the scene.  There were no reported injuries in the incident.  Gang detectives are still investigating the fight and other arrest may be forthcoming.

Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Charlie Halford – a retired Manteca Police chief – praised staff that was made aware of problems outside and alerted police. One staff member then went outside to keep an eye on them as well and to make sure club members who may have been coming to or from the club stayed away from form the confrontation.

There were no club kids involved and it did not take place on club property. The club has a policy requiring kids to stay inside at all times unless there is a supervised activity outside.

“Staff did an excellent job in getting the kids into the club and keeping there until the situation had stabilized,” Halford said in an e-mail.