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Calif. deputy killed while serving eviction notice

Shooter believed to be holed up inside an apartment in Modesto

Associated Press

MODESTO, Calif. — A sheriff's deputy and a civilian were killed Thursday when gunfire broke out as authorities tried to serve an eviction notice at a California apartment complex, officials said.

The shootings led to a standoff with a suspect who was believed to be holed up inside an apartment at the Whispering Woods development.

The FBI and SWAT teams surrounded the building, and authorities evacuated surrounding residents.

Two deputies went to the north Modesto home to deliver the notice when the shooting occurred around 11 a.m., Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said.

Neighbors Levi Middleton and Jennifer Diaz told the Modesto Bee they heard multiple gunshots in rapid succession, as if fired from a semi-automatic weapon.

Christianson said he believed that his deputies did not return fire.

The names of those killed were not immediately released. Sheriff's officials did not release any details about the civilian fatality.

Authorities told the Bee the suspect is in his mid-40s and may have had military training.

Shortly after the standoff began, authorities broke the windows with bean bag shots and fired tear gas into the home, according to the newspaper.

Sgt. Anthony Bejaran would not confirm if authorities had been in contact with the suspect.

"There's not much more information I can give out," said Bejaran, a sheriff's spokesman.

The Whispering Woods development opened in 2002 on the site of the former Prescott Estates, which was known for decades as one of the most crime-plagued and substandard housing areas in Modesto, according to Bee reports.

The city shut down Prescott Estates, and the property was cleaned and extensively remodeled.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press

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