June 25, 2003
The Lodi Police Department is currently on the scene of a homicide at 404 E. Walnut St in Lodi. One person died and another was wounded by gunshots at that location after a fight broke out during a party. At 10:41 last night, several 911 calls were received reporting a fight with shots fired at the above home. Responding officers found multiple subjects still fighting on the front lawn of the residence, and spent several minutes trying to gain control of the scene. One man was found down on the lawn, suffering a gunshot wound to the chest. That man and another with a gunshot wound to the arm, were taken to an area hospital where the first man was pronounced dead. He is a 19-year-old Lodi resident, while the wounded man is 20 years old and also a local resident.
Several subjects fled into the house, which began a six-hour period during which the house was surrounded. SWAT and the Critical Incident Negotiations Team were called to the scene. Several occupants exited the house in the first half-hour or so, but a male and a female remained inside. Numerous attempts to contact them met with no success until about 0445, when they came out and were handcuffed and arrested without incident on a charge of Obstructing an Investigation. They are: Laura Barajas, 18, 404 E. Walnut St., and Veasna Lee Rath, 18, of 1705 Westmora, Stockton. They are currently being questioned regarding their involvement. It has not been determined as yet whether this case is gang-related.
Detectives and evidence technicians have taken over the scene and are expected to be there for several hours. They are pursuing various leads and information as to the suspect(s) in this case. Responding News Media should contact the on-scene PIO, Sgt. William Barry at 209-329-2966.
Persons with information on this case are encouraged to call the Lodi Police Department at 209-333-6727. Persons may also call anonymously to Lodi Area Crimestoppers at 209-333-6771, and may be eligible for a cash reward.