Coroner IDs 15-year-old shooting victim

May 8, 2014 

A 15-year-old boy was shot to death Wednesday about 9:30 p.m. in the 600 block of W. Eighth Street, police reported.

No suspects are in custody. Police have said the shooting could be gang-motivated, although no further details are available about the circumstances behind the shooting. The victim has been identified as Luis Angel Zavaleta-Rios, according to the Merced County Coroner’s Office.

The victim turned 15 less than a week ago.

Officers responded to a call of shots fired in the area of West Ninth and N streets. Officers arrived on scene and found the victim, who had been shot in the upper body area. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Capt. Tom Trindad.

Five homicides have been reported in the city of Merced this year, and 10 have been reported countywide.

Zavaleta-Rios is the second juvenile homicide victim reported this year in Merced. Sixteen-year-old Donovan Webster was fatally shot Feb. 17 near West 20th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Police said Webster was either walking to a nearby residence or walking back to his home when the shooting happened.

No suspects have been arrested in Webster’s death.

Police are asking anyone with any information to call Detective Paul Johnson at (209) 388-7742, or the department’s automated tip line at (209) 385-4725. The public can send information via anonymous text message to police department by dialing TIP411 and including the word “ComVIP” as the keyword in the text message.

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