Suspect in murder case takes own life in SN motel, authorities say

A suspect in a Milpitas homicide investigation took his own life in a Santa Nella motel room as authorities attempted to serve an arrest warrant Wednesday night, Oct. 14, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office reported.

According to a Sheriff’s Office Facebook post, Milpitas Police and the U.S. Marshals Service advised the Sheriff’s Office that the suspect, identified as Kevin James Gitmed, 35, was staying at the Motel 6 in Santa Nella and was possibly armed. The Merced County Sheriff’s SWAT team was requested for assistance.

As SWAT team members arrived at the hotel they surrounded the room where Gitmed was staying and ordered him to leave the room and surrender. A short time later, the Sheriff’s Office reported, a single gunshot was heard from inside the room.

After several more calls from deputies into the room were not answered, a drone was used to look into the room and deputies observed Gitmed had succumbed to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Deputies attempted life-saving measures but Gitmed was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gitmed’s death is being investigated as a suicide by the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, the Facebook post stated.

COVID case counts

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Newman remained unchanged at 348 from Monday, Oct. 12, to Monday, Oct. 19, according to the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency dashboard.

The number of cases in the Gustine community increased by two from 239-241 over the same time, according to the Merced County Public Health Department dashboard.

The case counts reflect cumulative totals since the start of the pandemic, not currently active cases.

Merced and Stanislaus County have each in recent weeks met the state criteria to move from “widespread” virus activity to the less restrictive “substantial” virus spread. That has allowed incremental reopening of restaurants, gyms, fitness centers, movie theaters and houses of worship with capacity restrictions.

West Side weather

Newman resident Marge Carvalho, an observer for the National Weather Service, reported the following daily high/low temperatures for the past week. Readings for the previous 24-hour period are recorded at 5 p.m. daily.

Monday, Oct. 12: 90/57

Tuesday, Oct. 13: 95/49

Wednesday, Oct. 14: 95/50

Thursday, Oct. 15: 93/50

Friday, Oct. 16: 98/55

Saturday, Oct. 17: 100/52

Sunday, Oct. 18: 97/52