Three people have been killed in three separate homicide cases in Merced County since Friday -- one of the deadliest weekends the county’s seen in recent memory.
The city of Merced reported two homicides, while the city of Dos Palos reported one homicide.
The most recent homicide was reported Sunday evening Dos Palos, and few details were available at press time.
Dos Palos Police Chief Barry Mann said he was informed about the death around 8 p.m. Sunday. The victim was found with fatal gunshot wounds in the area of Leonard Avenue and Palo Alto Street, near the rear of Dos Palos High School.
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Dos Palos police have identified the victim as Luis David Leon, 17.
Mann said no suspect was in custody, and the investigation is ongoing.
Earlier Sunday, a 16-year-old male victim was shot to death just before 7 p.m. in the parking lot of Merced’s Tenaya Middle School, Merced police reported.
The victim's name has not been released.
Police responded to a call reporting gunshots and found the victim unresponsive in the school’s parking lot, at 760 W. Eighth St., according to Sgt. Alan Ward.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. No suspect was in custody, and a description of the shooter was not available.
In the third homicide, a 41-year-old man was fatally stabbed Friday evening in the 3400 block of G Street, near Donna Drive, Merced police reported.
The suspect has been identified as Fidel Granados Ortega, 32.
The victim’s identity had not been released, pending notification of his family or next of kin.
Police were still searching for witnesses but believed the victim had been working at the G Street home when he got in an argument with Ortega.
The victim was stabbed multiple times and Ortega fled the scene, police said.
Officers responded to the scene at 7:50 p.m. and found the victim unconscious and bleeding from the upper torso, according to a Merced police news release.
Riggs Ambulance paramedics attempted to assist the victim, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators found a knife nearby, but it’s unconfirmed whether it was the weapon used to kill the victim.
Officers checked the area but were unable to locate the culprit. Around 10:30 p.m. police learned Ortega had been spotted in the 1900 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Officers with the department’s Gang Suppression Unit, patrol division, with help from the Merced County Probation Department, surrounded the area and arrested Ortega at a residence in the 300 block of West 19th Street.
A total of six homicides have been reported this year in Merced County. Five of those cases were in the city of Merced, while Dos Palos reported one.
Police ask anyone with information about either case to call Sgt. Scott Skinner at (209) 385-4702 or the department’s automated tipline at (209) 385-4725. Tips are kept confidential, and callers can remain anonymous.