A 34-year-old Merced man was shot to death Friday night outside his home on San Mateo Court in Merced, police detectives confirmed.
The victim, Jose Mireles, was shot multiple times in the upper body around 9:45 p.m. on the outside stairway of an apartment complex in the 3300 block of San Mateo Court, Detective-Sgt. Curt Gorman said in a news release.
The victim's children, two girls and a boy, ages 6 and younger, were inside the apartment at the time of the shooting. They were not injured.
A woman, who described the victim as her "nephew," was crying at the scene with several family members.
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"I don't know why they killed him. I don't know what happened, I don't know what happened," she cried, slumping into the arms of another relative. "I don't know why. Why?"
No arrests have been made. Descriptions of the suspects were not available late Friday. Gorman said the weapon used in the homicide had not been located. Crime scene investigators did find multiple casings in the area.
Gorman said the victim was involved in an argument with three men shortly before the shooting, but the nature of the fight was unclear. One of the men, Gorman said, fired multiple shots before he and the two other men ran away in different directions.
Police officers attempted first aid until paramedics arrived, but the victim was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Detectives were interviewing witnesses late Friday night and Saturday.
The death marks the third homicide of the year in the city of Merced.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Merced Police Detective Chris Russell at 209-385-4707 or 209-385-6905. Tips are confidential and callers may remain anonymous.
Sun-Star reporter Vikaas Shanker contributed to this report.
Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482