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Homicide Suspect Caught In Escalon, Oakdale Area Lathrop shooting leads to carjackings, police chase
Stephan Williamson
Stephan Williamson

A shooting at a home in Lathrop on the morning of July 12, resulted in a pair of carjackings and a police pursuit across two counties that ended with the suspect in custody.

The man that was shot at the home on the 13000 block of Talc Street in Lathrop ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

The suspect, identified as Stephan Williamson, 35, reportedly was involved in some kind of an altercation at the home on Talc Street when he shot the victim and then fled the scene. According to San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow, who announced the capture of the suspect in a press conference, both the suspect and the victim were known to one another.

The man fled the scene on foot to the area of Louise and McKinley Avenues where he carjacked a small pickup truck and fled the scene, eventually losing a tire near the truck stops in Ripon, where he decided to carjack another vehicle from a jobsite in the area and head east.

The Stanislaus County California Highway Patrol came across the vehicle on Highway 120 between Escalon and Oakdale and a pursuit ensued that ended with a felony car stop where the suspect surrendered without incident.

Williamson did not require medical clearance and was transported to the San Joaquin County Jail where he was interviewed before being booked into custody.

“A pretty active incident here today in our small town of Lathrop,” Withrow said in an address about the incident. “But luckily, since we provide police services for Lathrop, we had approximately 50 officers that could swarm the area and begin the investigation on all of these types of incidents that occurred that were attached to the original shooting.

“The public is safe — the citizens of Lathrop and our County are safe — and we just want to say thank you to Stanislaus County CHP, Ripon PD, Escalon PD, and our AGNET Unit here at the sheriff’s office for making sure that we had a peaceful to this at this time.”

The street crimes division of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office — known as STANCAT — also assisted in the pursuit and apprehension of the suspect.

Officers backtracked locations significant to the pursuit searching for the weapon, but according to Withrow had not recovered the weapon that was used in the shooting yet.

When asked about reports that the family at the home where the shooting took place had made multiple police calls over the years about the problematic behavior of the suspect, Withrow said that he had not been briefed on the suspect’s past but noted that he had been an inmate at the San Joaquin County Jail multiple times in the past.

According to Withrow, the victim was discovered upstairs in the home suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, and medical crews were evaluation his condition when a call came in about a carjacking several miles away.

Talc Street is located in the Stonebridge Neighborhood behind Joseph Widmer Elementary School — located just east of Harlan Road along I-5 between Louise Avenue and Lathrop Road.

According to Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann, the initial altercation that set off the man hunt was family related with no indication of gang involvement or anything else that would have ended up on law enforcement’s radar.

Biedermann stressed the significance of the massive response from the sheriff’s office and the multi-agency cooperation that led to a peaceful conclusion.

“With the sheriff basically giving me the green light to deploy all available resources, we had bodies in Manteca, and Ripon, and Tracy — we thought his cell phone was pinging in Tracy for a while. It’s by far the most impressive response I’ve been involved with — in less than two hours we had him in custody a county away,” Biedermann said. “It was something that started horribly but ended the best possible way.

“To take somebody into custody without having to use force in the end where there were two other violent acts committed is ending this the best way it could have ended.”

The homicide was the first in Lathrop since April 15, 2018