By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Detectives stunned by release of video of deadly invasion on Instagram
Christian Sanchez homicide
The family of homicide victim Christian Sanchez (hands up) did not share this purported Sept. 27 video with Sheriff's detectives but posted it on social media instead.

Stanislaus County Sheriff’s investigators were not happy last week when they learned that the family of a man shot to death during a Sept. 27 rural Ceres home invasion robbery attempt posted surveillance video on Instagram.

Authorities weren’t aware that such a video existed, leaving questions as to why it wasn’t provided to investigators at the outset of the investigation.

Christian Sanchez, 22, was shot to death during the 6 a.m. invasion as six masked men – seen on the video confronting him as he was trying to leave the home – entered the home in the 2600 block of Gondring Road outside of Ceres. 

“We were surprised as the next person that the family decided to hang onto that (video) and not share it with our detectives,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Luke Schwartz. “They went to social media first so it’s quite problematic when you’re talking six weeks after the fact.”

Schwartz said he didn’t know why the video wasn’t shared with detectives initially, saying “apparently the folks that we’re dealing with there seem to be some back stories and some history and issues. We’re frustrated with it too but our detectives are trying to play catchup.”

Detectives were also trying to ascertain if the video was authentic, he said.

“It’s a challenge when it goes public before it gets sent to the investigators.”

The video has generated some new tips.

A camera mounted on the front of the house showed Sanchez being confronted by the armed men in the yard and being led back into the house with his hands in the air. One voice is heard asking Sanchez his name. The gunman also asks if there are children inside, where money can be found and “where’s everybody at?” Inside the home, he calls out, “Sheriff’s Department, Stanislaus County sheriffs.”

All the suspects were wearing hoodies and had their faces covered. One suspect is seen wearing a dark-colored hoodie with MK on the chest. 

Most of the home’s occupants were asleep at the time but awakened by the “loud commotion.” Sanchez was fatally wounded by the time deputies arrived. Emergency personnel arrived on scene and began life-saving measures and he was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

After the shooting, all the suspects fled. No description of the suspects or any getaway vehicle was provided.

In releasing the video, a sibling said the video was released after some soul searching and decided to do so because “We don’t want this case being another cold case or a case where it’s just another stack of papers piled.” They called for anyone who recognizes the men or their voices to contact the family or authorities. The text ended with: “All we want is JUSTICE FOR MY BROTHER. If you can share this on your story or around, that will be appreciated.”

The family of the victim said that the gunmen escaped emptyhanded.

Anyone with information on the crime may be reported to Detective Espinoza of the department’s Major Crimes Unit at (209) 567-4466. Tips may also be phoned into Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 or