ATWATER -- A 20-year-old man's in critical condition after a shooting reported late Thursday evening at an apartment complex in the 2700 block of Nashua Street, police reported.
Officers arrived at the scene at 10:42 p.m. to investigate a report of shots fired, but were unable to find anyone, according to Lt. Sam Joseph.
A few minutes later, however, police had received a call from Mercy Medical Center Merced staff about a gunshot victim who'd just arrived, who said he was shot in Atwater.
Police learned the 20-year-old victim and a woman were sitting on the steps to the apartment when a black male adult wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt walked by their location. The shooter and the victim exchanged gang challenges and confronted each other. The shooter then pulled out a silver revolver and reportedly shot the victim three times in the upper body, Joseph said.
The shooter fled the scene on foot and the victim was taken to a regional hospital, Joseph said.
Police have identified Gordon Columbus, 19, as a person of interest in the shooting.
Police are asking anyone with information about Columbus' whereabouts to call Detective David Brum at (209) 357-6394. Tipsters can call the automated tip line at (209) 357-6390. Tips are confidential, and callers can remain anonymous.