Atwater police looking for connections in shootings of teen and toddler

December 25, 2013 

— Police investigators are looking for possible connections between a Christmas Eve house shooting and two shootings from last week in which a teenager and a 2-year-old boy were shot less than an hour apart.

Six people, including four juveniles, were arrested Tuesday in connection with a shooting at a home in the 1300 block of Herman Street. All six were taken in custody while after they were spotted riding in a Chevrolet Impala. Inside the vehicle, police said, was a small-caliber handgun that they believe might be tied to all three attacks.

Police initially believed all six suspects were under the age of 18, but later learned that two were adults.

Erika Navarro and Nicholas Valencia, both 19, were arrested along with four teen boys on suspicion of shooting at an inhabited dwelling, conspiracy and possession of a loaded firearm, Atwater police Sgt. Dick Wisdom said.

Police said the Herman Street shooting may be gang-related.

“The teenager, the boy, who was shot last week and the baby were also hit with small-calibers,” Wisdom said. “We’re looking into and following up on whether this gun may have been involved in those shootings as well.”

Wisdom said testing on the firearm to determine any possible connections was still in the works.

Police said a teenager was shot about 5:15 p.m. Thursday and was found in a parking lot near a restaurant in the 300 block of Bellevue Avenue. To protect the victim’s safety, police have withheld his exact age.

Police said he remains in “serious but stable condition” at a regional hospital.

Authorities have said there might be gang connections in that case as well.

Less than an hour earlier on the day the teen was shot, Atwater police responded to the Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock about 4:41 p.m. regarding a child who had been shot in the leg. Officers said the boy’s mother told police she was walking with the child on Olive Avenue and they were shot at randomly.

Both victims are expected to recover from their injuries, police have said.

Atwater police are also looking into another shooting reported early Tuesday in the 1300 block of Citation Street. Police said the home’s garage door and a car parked outside were struck by gunfire. Investigators said they recovered two different calibers of bullets at the scene. No one was injured, police said.

The investigations are ongoing and detectives are asking anyone with information to call the Atwater police at (209) 357-6394. Callers may remain anonymous.

Merced Sun-Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service