Planada: Another deadly shooting

Sheriff frustrated with gang members

tmiller@mercedsunstar.comAugust 1, 2013 

— One Planada man was killed and another was wounded Sunday night in an apparent gang-related shooting, the Merced County Sheriff's Department confirmed Monday.

Officers received a series of 911 calls about 10 p.m. Sunday, after shots were heard in the 9000 block of Stanford Avenue, said Sheriff Mark Pazin.

Juan Nava, 22, of Planada was killed while standing in the front yard of a house, Pazin said. Luis Rosales, 21, of Planada was struck twice but sustained no life-threatening injuries.

"This can be directly linked, unfortunately, to gang violence," Pazin said.

The Sheriff's Department's Major Crimes Unit continues to gather evidence at the scene. No one has been arrested in connection with the shooting.

Pazin said Nava was "immersed" in a gang lifestyle, while Rosales may have had loose ties to a gang.

During a news conference Monday, Pazin expressed his frustration with gang members, repeatedly calling them "functional idiots."

"(We've) got these crazed persons, again I call them functional idiots, with guns out there arbitrarily shooting at who they perceive as the enemy," Pazin said.

Adding to his frustration, Pazin said, were the proactive efforts expended in the area. The Sheriff's Department visited Houlihan Park in Planada last week.

Deputies visited the park with Merced County Supervisor John Pedrozo, Pazin said, and provided games and food for members of the community.

"Just a few days later, it just doesn't seem like it resonated with these characters," he said. "They are steadfast with what color they are going to adore, and what number they are going to wear on their sleeve."

Pazin said no witnesses to the shootings have come forward.

The Sheriff's Department was one of several agencies that took part in a probation sweep Thursday that nabbed 39 probation and parole violators.

Seventy deputies and officers carried out 105 compliance checks on gang members under the supervision of the Merced County Probation Department.

Sunday's shooting in Planada was the second this month. An 18-year-old Planada man was shot July 11 while walking on Latham Drive and Carson Street.

The man was struck in the neck during the apparent gang-related shooting, deputies said, and sustained a long-term injury.

Pazin said his department has seen 12 shootings this year and urged witnesses to come forward.

"We're on it," Pazin said. "As usual, it's not just law enforcement, (we) need the community partnership."

Anyone with information about the shootings

is asked to call the Merced County Sheriff's Department at (209) 385-7444.

Reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or at

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