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Victim ends up as suspect in shooting
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Shots fired Sunday evening were not from a car in a northwest Manteca neighborhood as reported to Manteca Police, but from the “victim”.  

Bullet casings found in the resident’s front lawn prompted the investigation to take a surprise twist as to who was actually responsible, police said.

The 7:30 p.m. fracas reportedly occurred in front of a residence in the 1400 block of Nana Place.  When officers arrived they found only a broken beer bottle and no victims in the area. 

Neighbors told officers that Robert T. Bettencourt, 30, – who lives in the home – was involved in an altercation with three males in a vehicle in front of his house when the shots were fired.  None of the neighbors saw a weapon actually being fired, police said.

When interviewed by officers, Bettencourt stated he had been driving his children back to his house, noticing a vehicle was following him with three occupants yelling at him. Bettencourt reportedly confronted the males and told them to leave and to get out of his yard. They allegedly responded by saying they were going to beat him up.

Bettencourt added that the men had thrown a beer bottle at his mother’s car and another subject fired two rounds from a handgun while seated in the back seat of the vehicle as it was being driven away. He told officers he had been standing in his front yard when the shots were fired out of the vehicle.

Two expended 9 mm shell casing were located in the grass of the front yard – a few feet from where Bettencourt said he had been standing.  Police said a probation search was conducted on the man’s room where ammunition and expended shell casings were located.  Officers said the shell casing matched the casings found in the front yard but no firearm was located in the man’s bedroom.

Bettencourt’s mother told officers that she had a 9 mm handgun in her bedroom, but she would not give consent for police to search for a firearm.  A search warrant was then obtained for the residence.  A firearm believed to have been the one used in the incident was located in the mother’s room, along with matching ammunition, police said.

Bettencourt was arrested and booked into San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp for making a false report, for being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a loaded firearm in public, and for the discharge of a firearm within the city limits.

Bettencourt is being held in lieu of $157,200 bail and is scheduled to appear in the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court today at 1:25 p.m.