February 13, 2014

Police say victim’s friends and family hampered homicide investigation

The friends and family of homicide victim Marcus Fisher withheld vital information from Merced police on the night he was shot to death, and officers said it seriously hampered the investigation.

The friends and family of homicide victim Marcus Fisher withheld vital information from Merced police on the night he was shot to death, and officers said it seriously hampered the investigation.

Fisher, 21, was shot and killed around midnight early New Year’s Day outside a home on Derby Court in Merced.

Sgt. Scott Skinner said at least one of the victim’s friends knew Fisher had been killed and never notified police. Additionally, Skinner said, Fisher’s parents knew that shots had been fired and their son was missing, but never called police.

Instead, Skinner said, Fisher’s family and friends attempted their own investigation and tried for several hours to locate Fisher.

The Merced Sun-Star made numerous attempts to contact the Fisher family about the police claims, without success.

Police said Fisher attended a New Year’s Eve party on Derby Drive hosted by rival gang members.

“He may not have known whose party it was and didn’t realize it until he was already inside,” Skinner said.

Fisher and others were chased down by several people described as only as Latino males, police said, and numerous shots were fired.

Officers were first dispatched to the area around 11:50 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to a report of shots fired.

“It was New Year’s and people are known to fire shots in the air around midnight,” Skinner said. “The officers didn’t find anything at that time.”

A short time later, around 12:07 a.m., officers were called back to the area by a resident who said a man was pounding on her front door asking for help, police said.

“The officers then located an individual, a male, who said he was at a party and there were guys shooting and he got scared and ran,” Skinner said. “That person said he wasn’t sure if they were shooting at him or if they were shooting into the air.”

Skinner said the man asked police for a ride to a nearby convenience store.

Police later learned the man, whose name was not released for safety reasons, was with Fisher when he was shot and killed. After Fisher died, the man ran from the area, found police and asked for a ride out of the area, police said. “He never said a word about his friend having been killed,” Skinner said.

More than eight hours went by before someone discovered Fisher’s body and called police. It would take a few more hours for police to make the connection between Fisher and the man who ran away.

“When we went back and talked to him, he said he figured we would put it together eventually and come back,” Skinner said.

Skinner said had police known about a shooting victim, the case could have turned out differently, though officers do not believe Fisher’s life would have been saved because of the nature of his injuries.

“If we could have gotten to him, he may have been able to tell us something about the people responsible,” Skinner said.

Fisher’s girlfriend eventually reported Fisher missing but did not say anything about the shooting, police said.

Skinner said the Fishers did not know their son was dead at the time, but knew he was missing and had been involved in some type of shooting incident.

“They went looking for him and even knocked on the door of house where his body was at 4 a.m., but nobody answered the door,” Skinner said.

Police said the lack of cooperation during the hours after Fisher’s death seriously harmed the investigation.

The Fishers’ other son, Mathew, was also shot and killed at a house party, possibly involving gang members, outside of Atwater last year. Marcus Fisher was with his brother when he died. No arrests have been made in the case, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed.

Police said they believe they may be close to making arrests in the Marcus Fisher case.

“We need individuals who were there to be truthful and stop just providing only bits and pieces of information and tell us what they know,” Skinner said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Chris Russell of the Merced Police Department at (209) 385-4704. Callers may remain anonymous.

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