A 43-year-old man was shot to death at about 2 a.m. Wednesday at his home in the 8000 block of Hildreth Lane, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office.
Hildreth Lane was closed for several hours to through traffic between Alhambra Avenue and Canepa Lane as Sheriff's detectives investigated the area Wednesday.
The body of Mark Henry Dentoni was located in an outbuilding where marijuana was being grown, Sheriff's spokesman Les Garcia said. Deputies said they found marijuana inside the main house in various stages of growth, he said.
Witnesses at the house when the murder took place told deputies that four or five men forced their way into the home and forced the witnesses into the living room before searching the area for valuables, Garcia said.
"This is very shocking to me," Morada Area Association acting President Ernie Boutte said.
Meanwhile, Hildreth Lane, adorned with red, yellow and green trees, was quiet and peaceful on Wednesday afternoon. The only sound that could be heard at the Hildreth-Alhambra intersection was the hum of a patrol car's motor.
The patrol car was parked in the intersection with crime scene tape as a deputy directed traffic away from the area.
"It's really frightening," said Susan Jiminez, an eight-year neighborhood resident. "We've had a few very quiet months until this."
Jiminez, who is active in Neighborhood Watch, said that word spread about the homicide through a Neighborhood Watch email list.
Morada was plagued by residential burglaries about a year ago, but crime decreased since the Morada Area Association consolidated various Neighborhood Watch groups into a single group serving Morada.
Morada Area Association board members have credited Neighborhood Watch coordinator Donna Augustin for her organizational skills and the resulting decrease in crime after a community meeting on the subject was held in April.
Jiminez's husband, Caesar Jiminez, said he heard conflicting information — that the shooting was the result of a home invasion robbery or that it was drug-related. According to Garcia, it seems to be both.
Caesar Jiminez said the shooting is more likely to be an isolated incident if it was drug-related.
Augustin said she isn't too concerned about the shooting.
"It's something that's happening everywhere," Augustin said. "It just happened to be in our neighborhood."
As the community's Neighborhood Watch coordinator, Augustin said she'll meet with Sheriff's deputies after the investigation is completed.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.