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Stockton hit-and-run suspect goes to court


STOCKTON - The man accused of being behind the wheel of a minivan that hit and killed a retired Stockton police officer last week made his first court appearance Tuesday.

Sergio Chavira, 57, is charged with felony hit and run, as well as vehicular manslaughter, in the death of 70-year-old Jimmy Pendergrass.

Pendergrass was on his way to the department for part-time work when he was killed. He is one of several retired officers doing background investigations on applicants so the department can increase it's staffing.

Prosecutor Robert Himelblau said Tuesday he's confident in a conviction even if there aren't eyewitnesses to the collision.

"Sometimes, you don't need witnesses to prove someone did something, most murders and homicides are that way," Himelblau said. "We won't have any difficulty."

Genova Bakery records thief stealing surveillance cameras


A camera used by Genova Bakery caught a thief stealing the business' surveillance cameras.

The popular bakery located in Stockton posted the video to their Facebook page Saturday morning asking followers for help if they recognized the suspect.

2014 rankings: University of the Pacific is diverse, smart and cool

2014 rankings: University of the Pacific is diverse, smart and cool

University of the Pacific awards more doctoral degrees to Asian American students than any other college in the country. Pacific alumni have the sixth-highest salaries among recent graduates who earned diplomas at West Coast colleges. And the university counts among the 15 most popular, 50 most beautiful, 50 smartest and 100 “coolest” campuses in the nation.

Those are just some of the rankings Pacific chalked up this year in assessments from popular magazines and websites, including Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Payscale.com, PolicyMic.com, Lumosity, Sierra Magazine and more.

“It’s wonderful when these rankings emphasize what we already know about Pacific,” said Provost Maria Pallavicini. “Pacific is a special place that prepares students for success through rigorous academics and superior teaching. While no ranking should be taken too seriously, we appreciate being recognized in so many areas.”

Diverse students

Stockton hit-and-run victim's family speaks out


The family of a retired Stockton police officer who was killed in a hit-and-run crash said they were relieved that the suspect was caught, but as still in pain.

Jimmy Pendergrass, 70, was killed Tuesday morning while he was on his way to the Stockton Police Department, where he worked part-time.

"We are broken; there is no other way to describe it," Pendergrass's daughter-in-law Kristina Pendergrass cried. "He was the heart of our family. We are just going through the motions."

Kristina Pendergrass fought back tears during a news conference at the Stockton Police Department Saturday morning. Faith, one of Pendergrass' two granddaughters, was by her side.

Man arrested in Stockton for attempted murder


A man was arrested Friday for allegedly strangling his girlfriend last week.

George Wheeler, 43, was taken into custody around 5:50 p.m. on the 1000 block of North Center Street for attempted murder, felony battery on a spouse, false imprisonment and threatening phone call, Stockton police said.

Police said Wheeler got into an argument with his girlfriend on Sunday. During the fight, Wheeler strangled and beat his girlfriend, police said.

The woman was taken to the hospital due to the severity of her injuries.


Suspect arrested in former Stockton officer's hit-and-run death


A man was arrested late Thursday night in connection to the hit-and-run death of a retired Stockton police detective.

Sergio Chavira, 57, was detained after he was found sleeping in his van outside a homeless shelter around 11:15 p.m. on Sonora and Harrison streets, Lt. Toby Will said. Chavira's van, a green Dodge Grand Caravan, matched the description of the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run death of 70-year-old Jimmy Pendergrass, police said.

Police were called to the scene by the shelter's security officers. After questioning Chavira, he was arrested and booked into San Joaquin County Jail for felony hit and run, Will said.

Police said Chavira is believed to be homeless and was living out of his van.


Stockton mayor sings on Facebook alongside new council member


STOCKTON - Two things become clear looking at Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva's Facebook page: He's in the holiday spirit, and he appears to be friendly with newly elected council member Christina Fugazi.

In a video post Wednesday afternoon, Silva sings a couple of songs while sitting next to Fugazi, who appears to be having a good time.

In any other city this might not seem like news, but there have been questions if Fugazi would stray from Silva when it comes time for tough decisions after the mayor enthusiastically campaigned for her election.

"I'm responsible for working with whoever is on the council, the mayor and other council members," Fugazi said. "They have to earn my vote, nobody has it."

Leading watchdog of the Stockton City Council Gary Malloy said he's confident Fugzai can keep her distance from the mayor.