Manteca Police Officer John Moody – who was cleared of any wrongdoing in the fatal 2011 shooting of Ernest Duenez Jr. – is no longer employed by the City of Manteca after more than 20 years on the job.
The Manteca Police Department declined to comment on the matter because it was a personnel issue but did confirm that he is no longer with the department.
Moody was on patrol on June 8, 2011 when he was dispatched to a Manteca neighborhood where a man that was believed to be armed was supposed to be headed after threatening his significant other.
A dashboard camera caught the vehicle – a compact pickup truck – turning onto the street and Moody following behind before stopping at the rear of the truck in the driveway, activating his lights which started the audio on the camera, and getting out to confront the passenger.
After being given multiple commands to put his hands up, 35-year-old Duenez appeared to reach back into the cab of the truck when Moody opened fire with his service weapon – firing 13 shots, 11 of which struck Duenez.
He died at the scene.
Responding officers found a knife in the bed of the truck that was believed to have been dropped by Duenez – something that factored into the decision by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office to clear the then 11-year veteran of any criminal charges.
Duenez’ family disputes the claim about the knife, and a federal judge that reviewed their lawsuit against the City of Manteca noted that the video evidence alone wasn’t enough to resolve the dispute.
That suit was settled 2014 for $2.2 million – with Manteca choosing to pay the settlement in lieu of a jury trial given the uncertainty of the outcome and the tensions surrounding the case.
Moody and another Manteca Police Department officer were granted a temporary restraining order after a member of Duenez’ family confronted them at the Great America theme park in Santa Clara, and a friend of Duenez’ was arrested after making a comment that authorities determined rose to the level of making a criminal threat.
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