A man who was escorted out of Walmart with his girlfriend for allegedly attempting to shoplift Sunday evening retrieved a weapon from his vehicle and fired two rounds at the store. The pair fled but was later arrested.
Ceres Police were called to the store at approximately 4:38 p.m. on Sunday for reports of shots fired in front of the store. Store loss prevention officers escorted Tomas Armendariz, 39, and Jessica Long, 35, both of Modesto, out of the store for allegations of suspicion to commit theft. Armendariz and Long went directly to their vehicle parked in front of the store. Armendariz allegedly retrieved a .223 caliber long rifle from his vehicle and fired two rounds at the front of Walmart in the direction of the store employees who happened to by the front entrance. Nobody was struck by the bullets. Police said the pair immediately fled in a gold-colored Pontiac Grand Am.
Moments later Ceres officers located the car on Mitchell Road. Officers attempted a traffic stop on the Pontiac, however, the driver did not stop and a pursuit ensued. The pursuit ended when the Pontiac crashed near the Faith Home Road/Highway 99 overpass near Keyes. Armendariz and Long ran from the car. Armendariz attempted to carjack another vehicle that happened to be driving in the area, however, police were able to intervene and apprehend both Armendariz and Long.
Both were booked into the Stanislaus County Jail. Armendariz is being held with a $500,000 bail for attempted murder. Long was booked and later released on a citation for resisting arrest. Police removed a rifle from the car believed to have been used in the store shooting.
Ceres Police are investigating the crime and urge anyone with information on the incident - they may remain anonymous - to call the Ceres Police Department Tip Hotline at 538-5740 or Detective Bryan Ferreira at 538-5616.