Pubdate: Mon, 25 Sep 2000
Date: 09/25/2000
Source: Modesto Bee, The (CA)
Author: Therese D. Zirkle

I am extremely upset regarding the recent shooting of 11-year-old
Alberto Sepulveda. This tragedy is heartbreaking. What concerns me
equally is the way the Modesto Police Department is attempting to e

Most disturbing is the conflicting information being distributed to
the general public.

The police have stated a drug trafficking investigation has been
ongoing since January 1999, and yet, they didn't know there were
children in the home. I was under the impression that is what
surveillance and confirmation of information was for. They have stated
Mr. Sepulveda is an alleged conspirator in drug trafficking; yet a
judge released him on a $20,000 bail bond.

Moreover, using the deceased child's height and weight as an excuse to
these events is reprehensible. The child was complying with all police
orders and was on the ground at the time of the shooting.

My heart and prayers are with the police officer involved and the
family of the deceased. This horrible burden and memory will be
carried by all involved for the rest of their lives.

Unlike others, I am not so quick to convict a person without a trial.
)From what I have ascertained, Mr. Sepulveda supports his family
through his auto repair business.

Because this man unfortunately used the word "stereo" during
conversations to a stereo shop, this makes this man a drug trafficker
and the raid justified?

I find no justification in women and children being forced to the
floor with guns to their heads.

Whether Mr. Sepulveda is a drug trafficker or not is

You do not endanger the lives of the innocent to arrest one person. In
recent years, up and down this valley, there have been too many police
raids that have resulted in a misinformation or wrong addresses.

I sincerely hope the Sepulveda family run -- and don't walk -- to the
closest competent attorney.

Perhaps, if the city of Modesto and the Modesto Police Department paid
out the big bucks a time or two, these kinds of tragedies won't be

Therese D. Zirkle,
Modesto, Sept. 20.