The second suspect wanted in the Aug. 24 shooting of two UC Merced students has been arrested in the Oakland area.
Paul Diandre Pittman, 20, was taken into custody Thursday by a Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy who was in Alameda County and spotted him in a place known for gang activity. The deputy contacted Pittman and arrested him after learning about the outstanding Merced County arrest warrant, according to Merced Police Sgt. Scott Skinner.
Merced police picked up Pittman from the Contra Costa County Jail and have interviewed him about the shooting. Pittman admitted to being in the area the night of the shooting with the other suspect, a 16-year-old boy. However, he denied being responsible for the shooting, Skinner said.
Pittman had no prior arrests or contacts with Merced police, Skinner said. He also isn't documented as a gang member in Merced County.
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Merced police are still looking for the weapon used in shooting. Police believe the gun may have been stolen from a residence in Merced. Skinner said a gun was reported missing the same day as the shooting. Detectives are comparing shell casings from the stolen gun to casings found at the shooting scene to determine whether they're similar.
The day of the shooting, UC Merced students Robert Justin Manaco, 23, and Ian Buczko, 19, had left a party about 4 a.m. in North Merced and were on their way to a fast-food restaurant, according police. They slowed at a red light at 16th and R streets and saw two men standing in the road, the victims told police. The men pulled out guns and started shooting at them without saying anything, according to Lt. Matt Williams.
The victims suffered gunshot wounds that were not life-threatening, police said. A third student, 21-year-old Arian Faurtosh, wasn't injured and called police.
Pittman was booked into Merced County Jail on suspicion of aggravated assault with a firearm. He's being held in lieu of $800,000 bail.
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