Ciutlahuac Tahua “Tao” Rivera, a known gang member, shocked the city of Merced in 2004 when he shot and killed 34-year-old Officer Stephan Gray during a routine traffic stop. It was the first time a Merced police officer had been murdered in the line of duty. Rivera was a parolee who ran from the vehicle, then turned and shot the officer, hitting him twice.
Rivera escaped to San Diego but was arrested 17 days after the killing. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2007.