Three days after neighbors pleaded with city officials at a Manteca City Council to do something about a man they said had been escalating his terrorizing of their neighborhood for months that man was shot to death by a resident who contends it was self-defense.
Cesar Montalvo was shot in the 300 block of Sun Haven Place a short distance from the Manteca Police Department Friday at 3 a.m. after the shooter said Montalvo was threatening his pregnant wife with a crowbar. Prior to the shooting tires were slashed and vehicle windows broken.
It was Manteca’s second homicide in 20 days.
Residents a block north of the Department of Motor Vehicles office on Davis Street said Montalvo, a man in his middle to late 30s, had been terrorizing their block for the past six months. They said he would just stand outside, cross his arms, and stare at neighbors as they drove or walked by their homes.
They said they had called police numerous times after having their tires repeatedly slashed with their small children threatened with a hammer and a saw by the man. They claimed they had called police many times and even attended Tuesday’s City Council meeting complaining about the situation. They told the council that Montalvo had filed false police reports contending various neighbors were holding a baby and an elderly person hostage on separate occasions. Each time police responded but found nothing amiss.
The incident evolved to a boiling point at about 2:30 a.m. Friday when several residents said they were awakened during a storm to hearing people yelling in the street. Residents had formed a pact earlier that when anyone heard or saw something suspicious and fearful that they would all respond by going out of their homes and confront the problem as a group.
After the 2:30 incident, neighbors said they found six to seven of their cars again had the tires slashed and someone retaliated against Montalvo and threw a number of rocks at his vehicle smashing windshields and side windows.
Montalvo was believed to have suspected a neighbor across the street, Marcus Smith, as being the culprit. He was seen running toward Smith’s house and his two pickups in his driveway striking the tail gate of one truck with a crowbar and breaking in a back cab window.
The Manteca Police Department had received two complaints on the 911 line, one at about 2:30 a.m. and the other at 3:07 a.m. with the second reporting shots fired with a man having been hit twice – once in the chest and the other wound in the shoulder, according to Sgt. Mike Sexon who said police responded to the second call in about two minutes.
Neighbor Jody Lauhon said Montalvo threatened Smith with a crowbar, advancing on the couple who were standing in the grass just beyond the trucks. He said he witnessed Smith yell at Montalvo three times to stop, saying, “Don’t do it Cesar, Don’t do it, Cesar, Don’t do it!” as he allegedly continued to threaten the couple.
That’s when other neighbors reported hearing five to seven gun shots with Montalvo being hit in the chest and shoulder. He walked back across the street to his house where he laid down bleeding on the couch. An ambulance transported him to San Joaquin Hopsital where he died shortly thereafter from his injuries, according to police.
Another neighbor, living across the street with his family, Robert West, said he had been in his home for the past 12 years. He remembers lying in bed in the wee hours Friday morning listening to the storm – he couldn’t sleep. “I never had any contact with Cesar but I know every car in the neighborhood has had its tires slashed, more times than once,” he said.
He added that a school teacher who had lived next door to him had moved out after being falsely accused of having a baby kidnapped and holding it hostage in her back bedroom with Cesar calling police on her. She couldn’t take it any longer, he added, so she just moved out.
Another neighbor, Scott Hendrix, said Montalvo had been terrorizing the neighborhood for at least six months. He scared the whole neighborhood with parents being afraid to let their kids play outside. He also charged that Cesar would leave his older, handicapped dad alone in their house for long periods of time while he was away.
“After he was shot, he walked back to his house,” Hendrix confirmed. “I didn’t feel safe in the neighborhood and now I feel safe again. He was obviously on drugs making us all fear for our lives.”
An adjacent family, around the corner with a common wall, said Cesar had been hitting and pounding on their wall and shouting loudly all day long Thursday. The man, a long haul truck driver, said he has had two cars with their tires slashed and the garage door damaged while he was in Mexico over the Christmas holiday. He said his neighbor behind him on the side street had also been victimized with tire damage.
The truck driver added that he had a 2015 pickup truck parked in front of his home that disappeared while he and his family were on vacation. The truck was found burned weeks later in Oakland. He said he and Mantalvo never talked.
Police were on the scene until close to 11:30 a.m. Friday taking measurements as a young woman arrived to take the dad out of the house with her.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.