Detective says shooting victim appeared to be burglar
by Jonathan Partridge | Patterson Irrigator
Sep 13, 2012 | 2443 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Stanislaus County Sheriff’s detective said this week that investigators believe a man who was shot to death Sept. 3 in west Patterson was trying to burglarize a house when he was killed, matching the accounts of neighbors.

Police arrested Luis Ballesteros, 25, of Patterson, on Sept. 4 on charges of burglary and conspiracy in connection with the attempted burglary. No one has been arrested for the homicide of 22-year-old Juan Armando Silva of Patterson.

Detective Cory Brown said Friday, Sept. 7, that Ballesteros appeared to advise Silva that the home was vacant. Ballesteros was not in jail this week, according to the Stanislaus County Jail custody report on Wednesday, Sept. 12. However, it was not clear when he was released, and sheriff’s department officials did not return comment in time for the Irrigator’s deadline.

“We believe (Ballesteros) is the one who put the burglary in motion,” Brown said.

Investigators think Silva was shot and killed by a resident of 1404 Shearwater Drive shortly after 1 a.m. Monday while the resident’s parents, the homeowners, were out of town on a camping trip, Brown said.

Silva’s body was found on the driveway of the house next door, 1400 Shearwater Drive, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Frank Fenn.

Investigators have not determined exactly where Silva was standing when he was shot and where the shooter was standing when the gun was fired, Brown said.

Sheriff’s officials did not disclose the name of resident who is alleged to be the shooter, though several neighbors said he was 19 years old.

The sheriff’s department is continuing its investigation while waiting on autopsy results, Brown said. The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office will decide whether to press charges, depending on whether they deem the homicide justifiable in accordance with state law.

State Penal Code 197 states that homicide is justifiable if a person is defending a home, property or person against someone who is proven to be committing a felony “by violence or surprise” or who “intends and endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner,” to enter a home to commit violence against someone. The state code also states that homicide is justifiable when resisting a murder or felony attempt or when seeking to avoid great bodily injury.

Brown would not say whether Silva was carrying a weapon when he was shot, as the matter is under investigation.

The detective verified that a break-in attempt appeared to have been made before Sept. 3 at 1404 Shearwater Drive. Someone took window screens off the house either Sept. 1, after most of the residents left for vacation, or Sept. 2, before the alleged shooter returned home in the evening, Brown said.

He said the shooting did not appear to be related to the bust of a marijuana grow house on the same block in August.

Brown said anyone with information about burglaries involving Ballesteros should call the sheriff’s substation in Patterson at 892-5071.

Contact Jonathan Partridge at 892-6187, ext. 26, or jonathan@pattersonirrigator.com.

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