Modesto Police Department
Office of the Chief of Police
Author: Sergeant Rick P. Armendariz
On Monday September 6th, at about 12:08 a.m., Modesto Police officers were dispatched to a residence in the 500 block of
Investigators have been piecing together the chain of events, which led to two Modesto Police officers fatally shooting a reportedly armed suspect. Although the investigation is ongoing, the investigation has revealed the following:
When Moran arrived home late Sunday night, he was reported by family members at the residence to be intoxicated, angry, and belligerent towards several of the seven other occupants of the home.
As Moran’s demeanor became more hostile and threatening, family members called 911. At one point, Moran went to the kitchen and retrieved a metal object from the air-dry dish rack, next to the kitchen sink. Moran placed the object in his rear waistband. A family member knew there was a large butcher knife that was in the air-dry dish rack and the family member believed Moran had retrieved the knife and was in possession of it.
911 calls from the residence reported Moran was armed with a knife. An elderly male resident attempted to intervene by calming Moran down. Moran responded by pushing the elderly male toward the ground, causing an injury that immobilized him and required hospitalization.
Three Modesto Police officers arrived at the residence. As they approached, they found the front door open and heard loud commotion inside the residence. When the officers entered the residence, into the living room, family members began yelling that Moran had a knife. Officers also saw the elderly male lying on the living room floor, injured.
Moran was in the living room area and officers immediately began to order Moran to show his hands and get on the ground. Officers were able to see a handle of a large object protruding from the back of Moran’s waistband.
When Moran failed to comply with officers’ commands, an officer used his Taser and shot at Moran. The Taser deployment had no affect on Moran.
Moran began to reach for the handle of the metal object in his back waistband. Moran began to move towards the officers and began to pull the metal object from his waist in a threatening manner. The two other officers shot at Moran and stopped the threat.
Once Moran was handcuffed, officers immediately began to provide medical aid to Moran, until paramedics arrived. Moran was pronounced deceased at the scene by medical personnel.
The two Modesto Police officers involved in the shooting have been identified as Officer Robert Laxton, a 7-year veteran, and Officer Joseph Lamantia, a 2-year veteran. The officers were not injured and have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure after officers are involved in a shooting incident. The third officer is identified as Officer Bradley Peterson, a 4-year veteran. Officer Peterson was the officer who used his Taser on Moran.
Investigators have determined the metal object Moran had retrieved from the air-dry dish rack was a large shiny metal spatula.
Investigators are still trying to determine why Moran failed to comply with the officers’ commands and acted in a violent and threatening manner. They are waiting for an autopsy to be completed in order to determine Moran’s blood alcohol level.
“This is a very tragic event for everyone involved,” said Chief Michael Harden. “The family of Moran and the officers involved have all been affected by the actions of Mr. Moran.”
For information about this news release, contact police spokesman Sergeant