ATWATER -- A 20-year-old man is in critical condition following reports of a shooting late Thursday at an apartment complex in the 2700 block of Nashua Street, police reported Friday.
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 received a call from Mercy Medical Center Merced about a gunshot victim who had just arrived. The man reportedly said he was shot in Atwater.
Police learned that the 20-year-old victim and a woman were sitting on the steps to the apartment when a black man wearing a dark-hooded sweat shirt walked by.
The man in the sweat shirt and the victim reportedly exchanged gang challenges and confronted each other. The man in the sweat shirt then pulled out a silver revolver and shot the victim three times in the upper body, Joseph said.
The shooter fled the scene on foot, 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.
-- Sun-Star staff