Merced police responded to a shooting on Seville Way in South Merced just after 6 p.m. Monday.
The victim, 29-year-old Robert Briggs, was shot in the head while listening to music near his car in front of his home, police and family members said.
When paramedics and police arrived, Briggs was coherent and talking to police. He did not know who shot him, said police Lt. Matt Williams.
Williams said police initially thought they were responding to a drive-by shooting.
In an interview with officers, Briggs said he noticed a suspicious silver car in the area moments before he was approached by a man on foot and then shot in the back of the head at a relatively close range.
Police did not know if there was any conversation or exchange before the shooting, or how many shots had been fired.
Police said the shooter may have parked the vehicle and then used it later as a getaway car.
More than one person may have been in the car, Williams said.
Briggs had been listening to music when his sister, Dominique, encouraged him to come inside for the evening.
"He came to the door five minutes later and told my mamma he'd been shot in the head," Dominique Briggs said.
Dominique Briggs said she did not hear any gunshots.
One neighbor said he heard three loud, popping sounds, but it could have been something else.
Briggs was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. Before the ambulance left, Briggs was talking to officers outside about the shooting.
Detectives and the department's crime scene team were sent to the scene for further investigation.
Merced police are asking witnesses and anyone with information about a silver Honda Civic-style car in the area Monday evening to call the department's tip line at (209) 385-4725.
Reporter Danielle E. Gaines can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.