Here's the story from the Merced Sun-Star:
The county's latest homicide victim may have been killed while trying to confront an auto thief.
That's the theory Merced police have formulated about the death of 41-year-old Randall Armendariz Sr., who was shot to death around 10:30 p.m. Monday off Gerard Avenue.
Cmdr. Floyd Higdon said the victim was an employee at Performance Towing in Merced. One of the company's service vehicles, a white 1989 GMC 1500 pickup, was reported stolen at 7:43 p.m. on Monday.
Police believe that Armendariz spotted the stolen vehicle and confronted the thief. Higdon said witnesses reported what appeared to be an argument between the victim and the suspect on Ruby Court near Carmel Road, before shots rang out. "The suspect apparently pulled out a gun and shot him," Higdon said.
After arriving at the scene, police located the victim lying in the road on Ruby Court.
He had been shot at least once in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene, Higdon said.
The stolen pickup was also found by police at the scene, the driver's side door open and the engine running.
Employees at Performance Towing described Armendariz as a caring father of four who had worked at the business for nearly 10 years. Loie Perry, 68, said Armendariz was a "good, likable" person. "We went on a lot of trips together getting cars," Perry said. "We made it a fun thing, not a work thing."
Police haven't yet released a description of the suspect. Higdon said the incident is an example of how confronting a suspect can be deadly. "Call the police. The best thing someone can do is let us take that action," Higdon said.
The death is the city's 10th homicide and the 22nd in Merced County this year.
Police are asking anyone with information about the killing to call Detective John Fister at (209) 385-4755, or the department's tip line at (209) 385-4725.