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Tip Leads To Fatal Shooting Of Suspect in Cop Killing

Modesto -- A tip from the girlfriend of the man wanted in the slaying of a Pittsburg, Calif. police detective led to the fatal shootout between police and the suspect in a shopping center parking lot, officers said.

Pittsburg police Lt. William Zbacnik said police were "about 90 percent sure'' the man shot and killed in the gun battle Thursday night was Earl Foster Jr., a 40-year-old parolee.

Zbacnik said law enforcement officers saw a man fitting Foster's description getting out of a black Acura to use a pay phone at the shopping center.

Agents from the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Justice told the man to put his hands in the air, but the suspect refused and began shooting, Zbacnik said. He said he did not know how many shots were fired but that there were "three distinct volleys of exchange."

Modesto Police Sgt. Ed Steele said Modesto police then arrived on scene and attempted to approach the man, who had fallen to the ground. When the man shot at them, officers returned fire, killing the man, Steele said.

Foster is the resident of the Pittsburg home where police found the body of 46-year-old homicide detective Ray Giacomelli. Police described Giacomelli's death as an "ambush" and an "execution."

A funeral for Giacomelli, the first Pittsburg officer to die in the line of duty since 1935, is set for noon on Monday at the Good Shepherd Church, at 3200 Harbor St. in Pittsburg.

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