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Ceres man fatally shot by police ID'd
• 22-year-old Ceres suspect had criminal history
Alexander Yepez Ortega shot
Alexander Yepez Ortega, 22, of Ceres, seen here in this 2022 booking photo, was shot and killed by police on Friday.

A man who had been brandishing a knife at family members was shot and killed by a Ceres police officer, the department reported on Friday.

The Ceres Police Department identified the man as Alexander Yepez Ortega, 22, of Ceres. 

An officer sustained a non-life-threatening injury during the incident, according to the Ceres Police Department.

At 11:40 a.m. on Friday, the Ceres Police Department dispatched officers to the 3400 block of Dirk Court for a report of a man brandishing a knife at relatives.

The reporting party provided dispatchers the name of the suspect and officers learned that he had a warrant out for his arrest on multiple charges, including assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence stemming from an incident in Modesto.

As Ceres police officers arrived at the home, Yepez-Ortega began running through neighboring yards.

Additional resources were requested to assist in locating the suspect. A Modesto Police Department canine officer arrived and began tracking the suspect. About 30 minutes after the initial call for service, Yepez-Ortega was found hiding in a vehicle on a commercial property in the 3400 block of Sixth Street.

The Ceres Police Department said that officers were attempting to take Yepez-Ortega into custody when the shooting occurred.

Officers immediately began life-saving measures, until medical personnel arrived and took over treatment but Yepez-Ortega died at the scene.

The officer who sustained a non-life-threatening injury was transported to a local hospital for treatment. No other officers or residents were injured.

Ceres Police detectives, administrative investigators, and the Stanislaus County District’s Attorney’s Office responded to the scene. It is standard for both a criminal and administrative investigation to be conducted at the same time when an officer-involved shooting occurs.

Ceres Police Department spokesman Sgt. Dirk Nieuwenhuis said that police bodycam video is being processed and will be released in a video to explain how the shooting went down. He said he anticipates that the video will be made public later next week.

Yepez-Ortega had a criminal history that included his arrest on Dec. 29, 2022 for reckless driving, possession of suspected cocaine, transportation of illegal drugs, driving without a driver’s license and resisting arrest. In that arrest, Officer Freddie Ortiz held a gun on Yepez-Ortega as he fled toward a house on Dirk Court after a short police pursuit. He was found with cocaine at the time of his booking.

– Jeff Benziger contributed to this report