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Murder victim was a look-a-like of neighbor
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There is a surprise twist in Sunday night’s murder — it was a possible case of mistaken identity.
Jake Velazquez, 24, who recently moved to Manteca from Hayward and Stockton, had been successfully focusing on turning his life around, according to one member of his family, Eddie Contreras, a Manteca area minister and his uncle.
Velazquez was in the middle of repairing a recently purchased Suburban SUV that was not in good running condition. The vehicle’s condition was misrepresented by the seller his uncle said. Velazquez and his brother had been working on it at a relative’s house. They were changing the oil in a neighbor’s garage where there was more light in the 300 block of Locust Avenue near the corner of Marion Street.
It was at that point when a light green Chevrolet or GMC SUV came down the street followed by a green sedan — possibly a Dodge — with a passenger in one of the vehicles firing five rounds from a semi-automatic hand gun at Velazquez out a window striking him in the chest at about 5:15 p.m.
His uncle said that a group of young men in their 20s from the next door residence had gathered around the outside of the garage — with one having an exact likeness of his nephew.  He said that after the shooting he noticed the look-a-like individual and it struck him hard.
The uncle said the fact the police were treating the shooting as being gang related put a bad light on his nephew who was not affiliated with any gang, he said. His uncle was unable to say that about others in the group.  They just got the wrong guy, Contreras stressed. 
“He was not a gang member.  He just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,” the CWC pastor said.  “He was an innocent young man just trying to do right.  He and his fiancé have a nine-month-old son and I was going to be the one to marry them soon but Jake died in my arms.”.
The Victims of California Crimes are working to help the family with funeral expenses, he added.
Anyone with information about the shooters are urged to call Manteca Police Detective Sgt. Stephen Schluer at 209.456.8210