2 Gang Members Fatally Beat Homeless Man in Modesto After Mistaking Him for Sex Offender: Police

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One man is in custody and another is being sought in connection with the fatal beating of a homeless man in Modesto, police said Sunday.

On Aug. 10, the two suspects -- identified as Matthew Arguello and Ruben Rosales -- confronted the man in Garrison Park, mistakenly believing he was a registered sex offender, according to a Modesto Police Department statement.

The two men are suspected of "viciously attacking" the victim, 63-year-old Jace Decker, according to police. Decker begged them to stop before he lost consciousness.

"Matthew and Ruben only used their bodily force to bludgeon Jace into a coma, and subsequently to his death," the statement read.

Decker died weeks after the brutal beating. Police confirmed he was not a sex offender.

"Know the facts before you just step into the situation and try to handle," Christopher Brown, who knew Decker, told KTLA sister station KTXL in Sacramento. "Like, you’re not God, or you’re not law enforcement."

Those who knew the victim say Decker was often found sitting on a bench in Garrison Park.

"He minded his own business for the most part. He just was going through his own life struggles and different adversities," friend Donnie Bibbs told KTXL.

Acquaintances say Decker was a husband with a broken heart.

"Pretty decent life and everything and, now, I think he was more so just hurt over losing his wife," Bibbs said. "He just never really bounced back from that."

Both Arguello and Rosales are known criminal street gang members, and the attack is believed to be gang motivated and unprovoked, investigators said.

Arguello has been apprehended. Rosales is on the ran and "should be considered dangerous," according to the police statement.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Lawrence at 209-572-9642 or Crime Stoppers at 209-527-4636.

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