Merced sheriff’s deputies are investigating a shooting and a carjacking reported a short time apart Thursday morning north of Winton.
Deputies were called at 11:13 a.m. to investigate a report of a carjacking in the area of Winton Way and Meadow Drive. A short time later, around11:30 a.m., a person came to the emergency room at Mercy Medical Center in Merced suffering from a small-caliber gunshot wound to their arm, Sheriff Vern Warnke said.
Detectives believe both incidents happened around the same time and a short distance apart, however, investigators said, the incidents were not related.
“We’re comfortable saying these incidents were not connected,” Detective-Sgt. Chuck Hale told the Sun-Star.
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The shooting was reported near Shaffer Bridge. A man was seating in a vehicle with other people when another man approached the car and shot at the victim, striking him at least once, detectives said.
The suspect, described by investigators as a Hispanic male in his 30s wearing a gray baseball-style cap, was seen driving a gray pickup truck with fog lights. The truck may have been lifted, investigators said.
“The motive is unknown at this time,” Hale said. “No words were exchanged before (the shooting).”
Around the same time, a man was carjacked at gunpoint by a man also described as a Hispanic male in his 30s. He was armed with a silver pistol. The carjacker was seen walking towards the victim’s car and pulled the gun as he got close. He took the victim’s 2003 Toyota Corolla and left the area. The victim was not injured, deputies said.
Investigators believe Thursday’s carjacking may be connected to a string of similar cases reported by deputies in recent months.
Detectives on Thursday released to photographs in connection with the carjacking investigations. One image showed a woman with dark hair, wearing a hooded jacket. Investigators said she is wanted for questioning in connection with the recent carjacking cases. Deputies are asking for the public’s help to identify her.
The second photograph showed a dark-colored pickup truck with an extended cab that also may be connected to the case.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merced County Sheriff’s Office at 209-385-7472. Tips are confidential and callers may remain anonymous.