Stanislaus County evictions process even more cautious in wake of deadly shooting

When two Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputies recently went to evict a man from his home on Crane Road on the outskirts of Oakdale, they found a note from him taped to the door.

Handwritten in pencil on the back of a yellow flier for a health and wellness fair, it warned, “Any offer to contract away my inheritance gifted to me by my creator is denied.”

The resident knew when the deputies were coming to his home because of the mandatory five-day notice they had posted the previous week.

The letter was a red flag for deputy Tom Letras, who took it to mean that its author did not acknowledge the authority of law enforcement.

He and the other deputy backed away from the rundown, one-story home, which was partially obscured by tall, yellow weeds. They were determined to get more information about the 49-year-old man inside before proceeding with the eviction.

That level of caution is a direct result of a horrific incident in the spring, when a deputy and a locksmith were gunned down and a second deputy injured while attempting to evict a man in Modesto. In a region with a sky-high homeowner foreclosure rate and tenants unable to keep up with the rent, evictions are an all-too-common outcome. Most are sad and emotional, but only one has turned deadly.

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