Originally published as a Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Nixle post –
“Detectives with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department conducted a search warrant earlier today, January 28, 2021, representing the culmination of a month’s long investigation into a brutal assault late last year.
The original incident occurred on October 28, 2020 at Parklawn Park in unincorporated South Modesto. Several individuals known to be members of the Norteno criminal street gang arrived at the park and encountered two victims they decided to attack. One victim managed to run away, but the second victim was knocked the ground, and repeatedly kicked in the head and torso until he eventually lost consciousness. Injuries were severe enough as well to require patient hospitalization.
Modesto resident Daniel Avina, 23, and Ceres resident Erik Rocha, 29, were positively identified through separate lineups as the two involved suspects. Criminal street gang members commonly intimidate local area residents by trying to stake ownership of their parks, stores, entire neighborhood blocks, and other commonly shared areas within the community.
The Stanislaus County and Ceres Police Department tactical teams served two separate search and arrest warrants today at both suspect homes. Avina and Rocha were later booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center for felony assault likely to cause great bodily injury, participation in a criminal street gang, and conspiracy participating in a criminal street gang. Rocha was also additionally charged with four counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
This investigation would not have been a success without the help of witness statements obtained from community members who were willing to step forward and say something. Their actions helped to combat the violence caused by dangerous gang members who threaten and endanger the safety of others. Both Avina and Rocha are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”