A man died after he was severely beaten early Monday in southeast Merced, the Merced Police Department reported.
Witnesses told police that seven to 14 people approached the victim and his adult son in the 300 block of East 15th Street, according to police Lt. Tom Trindad.
The men were in separate cars parked along the road when the confrontation occurred.
The group approached the vehicles and started to harass the father and his son, Trindad said. The group members were heard yelling a gang-related term and started assaulting the pair, police said.
The son got away, Trindad said, running to a nearby homeless shelter and asking those inside to call police.
Police arrived about 3:45 a.m. and found the badly beaten victim.
The man was taken to Mercy Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Trindad said.
Year's first homicide
The victim's name is being withheld until the Merced County coroner's office confirms his identity.
This is the city of Merced's first homicide of the year.
Detectives are working on leads, Trindad said.
Those with information about the assault can call Detective Robert Solis at (209) 385-4703 or the Merced Police Department tipster line at (209) 385-4725.
Information can be anonymously texted to the Police Department by dialing "TIP411" (847411) and including the word "ComVIP" as the keyword in the text message.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.