A 35-year-old man was killed Tuesday in Los Banos, the Police Department reported.
The victim was identified Wednesday by the Merced County Coroner’s Office as Rene Cruz Sandoval.
He was found bleeding around 3:45 p.m. outside a home in the south alley of the 300 block of H Street, police said.
Police said the incident was being investigated as a homicide.
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Investigators declined to comment on the cause of death. They also said it was too early to comment on any motive or suspect information.
“We believe we know the cause of death,” Commander Ray Reyna said as police waited for the Merced County coroner to arrive. “But we’re not ready to release that information yet.”
Tuesday’s death marks the first homicide of the year in Los Banos and the eighth in Merced County, according to Merced Sun-Star archives.
Last year at this time, Merced County had reported 20 homicides, according to Sun-Star archives.
The last homicide in Los Banos was reported July 14, 2015, when 20-year-old Guillmer Diaz was stabbed to death in the 500 block of Ward Road. Two teenagers, ages 15 and 17, were arrested in connection with Diaz’s death.
“It’s scary, happening right in my own backyard,” said Javier Bocangra, who lives on the same block as the incident off H Street. “I didn’t think (a homicide) could happen right here.”
Bocangra moved to Los Banos about eight months ago from Madera. Since then, he said, the neighborhood was quiet whenever he was at home.
Other neighbors weren’t as concerned by the news.
“Anywhere you go it’s the same story,” said George Ortiz, who lives across the street from the alley. “This is a good town, quiet. Sometimes you only ever see people coming out of the bars and fight.”
To leave an anonymous crime tip, call 209-827-7070, ext. 288. Tips also can be left at the Police Department’s web page at www.losbanos.org; at the bottom of the Police Department page, click on the “report graffiti and other crime” link. Tipsters also can contact Merced Area Crime Stoppers at 855-725-2420 or www.mercedareacrimestoppers.org.