A 74-year-old jewelry vendor was shot and killed in front of his family as he unloaded merchandise from his SUV at a south Stockton flea market just after 8 a.m. June 2.
Ignacio Cervantes was a regular at the flea market in the 2500 block of South El Dorado Street, said Officer Joe Silva, a spokesman for the Stockton Police Department.
"It's very brazen and very violent," said Silva of the shooting near a loading dock of the market. "It's heinous and it's horrible; his family saw it."
Details of the armed assailants are scarce except that several men were wearing ski masks or bandanas and arrived in a Dodge Ram minivan that was reported as stolen, Silva said.
It is unclear if they were parked in the lot and waited for Cervantes or arrived as he unloaded his jewelry, Silva said.
The men exited the van and took an undisclosed amount of gold and jewelry from Cervantes before shooting him at least once, police said.
The men then fled in Cervantes' tan 1998 Lincoln Navigator, leaving the minivan behind.
Police said the high price of gold appeared to be the motive behind the robbery and shooting. Gold as a commodity sells for about $1,620 an ounce.
Authorities processed the van for several hours, but they did not disclose whether fingerprints or other evidence was found. Cervantes' Navigator was retrieved less than a mile away from the crime scene shortly after 5 p.m., police said, after a resident in the 3000 block of Fairmont Drive recognized the vehicle from news reports and called police.
Residents in the block said the Navigator arrived about 8:30 a.m.
"This is further proof this was a premeditated, planned and coordinated attack," Silva said.
Officials ask anyone with information to call the Homicide Investigation Unit at (209) 937-8323 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600.
People may also text any information pertaining to this investigation to 'CRIMES' (274637) with the keyword TIPSPD.
The slaying is Stockton's 25th homicide this year.