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Shot to death on Yosemite Avenue Feb. 20 on his way to pick up dinner for his family
The family of 30-year-old Ramon Rios – who was tragically murdered in his car in the middle of Yosemite Ave. on Feb. 20 – is still searching for answers as to what happened leading up to the incident that changed their lives forever.

Ramon Rios spent his morning on Feb. 20 trying to get qualified to buy a home in Manteca for his family.

And that evening when he was considering bringing his wife and two young daughters with him in his classic 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass to pick up dinner, he decided to go alone so that they could relax at home.

He would never make it back to his family.

Rios, a 30-year-old construction foreman that spent his entire life in the South County, was gunned down in his car in broad daylight at the busiest intersection in Manteca – right when hundreds of vehicles would be filtering through the drive-thru windows of In-N-Out and Chick-fil-A.

The Manteca Police Department still hasn’t received the information that they need – what led up to the shooting, a description of who pulled the trigger, a make or model of the vehicle that fled the scene after the shooting occurred – to help bring Rios’ killers to justice and help provide closure for his fractured family.

“He didn’t deserve that,” Rios’ wife Gladys said while wiping away tears. “I still haven’t told the girls what happened – I told them that he passed away in a car accident because I don’t want them to have to think about that.

“And they’re still out there. There has got to be justice here – we’re not going to be okay without justice. Whoever did this will end up harming another person – they did this so easily without thinking about who it would impact.”

Anybody with any information about the case is encouraged to contact Manteca Police Department Detective Garret Morrison at 209.456.8212 or call the anonymous tip-line at 209.823.4636 if the person with the information wishes to keep their identity concealed.

For the last five months Morrison has been working every possible lead that he can generate in the case and has been collaborating with the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office – chiefly Janet Smith from the Homicide Division – to help bring Rios’ killers to justice.

This week Smith met with Gladys Rios and her late husband’s family to inform them of a San Joaquin County organization that wants to work with them to publicize the case and potentially offer a reward for any information that leads to an arrest.

According to Smith – who will begin prosecuting two murder trials later this week – investigators are just waiting for somebody with the information they need to come forward so that law enforcement can do its job in ensuring that the shooters are taken into custody.

“He is a human being, and he deserves to have somebody step forward and do the right thing here,” she said. “We want to stop this cycle – this is a dangerous cycle for our community.”

Born to a large family in French Camp, Rios worked as a construction foreman in the San Jose area – often leaving the house before the sun came up and getting home well after it set so that he could provide opportunities for his family.

It was a job that he got from his older brother, Jose Luis Rios, who served as the superintendent on the jobs that he worked in the Bay Area. It was something that he had completely dedicated himself to.

The way that he took care of the guys that worked under him, his older brother said, was a testament to the kind of man he was.

“He probably had 200 or 250 guys working under him, and I would stop in and ask him if he really needed all of that help,” Jose said on Tuesday. “And he would tell me yes – that they all had families that they had to take care of, and he felt a responsibility for that.

“He would stay late so he could make sure that all of the payroll was taken care of so that everybody got what they earned – he just cared so much. He deserves justice here.”

And seeing his little brother take the love that he had received in the home that they grew up in and grow it elsewhere with his own family – with his two little girls – was something that moved the older brother to tears.

“I’m proud of him – I know he’s not here with us anymore but I’ll still proud of him,” his brother said. “He did a wonderful job as a father, and a husband, and a brother, and as a boss, and as a friend, and as an uncle.

“He had 20 nieces and nephews and they’re having a very difficult time right now with this loss.”

When Rios wasn’t working or spending time being a “Girl Dad” to his two daughters – complete with the makeup and the nail polish – he could usually be found in his garage that had been converted to a workout facility or spending time with his close and loving extended family.

The family was able to raise nearly $20,000 through a GoFundMe to help defray the funeral expenses they incurred but are still suffering tremendously through his absence – which is made immensely more difficult because the perpetrators have still not been caught.

That fact has colored nearly everything that Gladys Rios has done for the last five months.

“We still don’t know who did it, or why, and they’re still out there – that gives me very bad anxiety when I leave the house,” she said. “I know that they’re still out there and they could be right here and I wouldn’t know it – that gives me panic attacks.

“We just want the people who did this to be caught so that we can have some closure. It won’t bring him back, but it will give us a little bit of peace.”

Anybody with any information about the case is encouraged to contact Manteca Police Department Detective Garret Morrison at 209.456.8212 or call the anonymous tip-line at 209.823.4636 if the person with the information wishes to keep their identity concealed.

Additional information about the possible reward for information could be upcoming soon, and billboards may potentially be used to help spread awareness of the tragedy in an attempt to generate new information.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.