A 20-year-old Planada man was shot in the back early New Year's Day in a neighborhood plagued by recent gang activity, the Merced County Sheriff's Office reported.
The victim was taken to a regional hospital for treatment. An update on his condition was not immediately available Monday.
Deputies were called at 1:30 a.m. Monday to a home on Carson Street near Latham Drive in Planada. Investigators said several people were in the backyard of the home celebrating the new year when a person in dark hooded sweatshirt approached the backyard on foot and fired nearly a dozen shots from a handgun.
The shooter fled the area and has not been arrested. A description of the person was not available Monday.
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No other injuries were reported.
Sheriff Vern Warnke said he couldn't comment on a motive for the shooting but said detectives have not ruled out the possibility of a gang connection in the case.
"We've been having a lot of gang activity on Carson lately and we plan to deal with that issue," Warnke told the Sun-Star.
Carson Street was the scene of the last homicide in Planada on July 4, 2017, when 18-year-old Andrew Guzman was shot and killed during a gunfight between rival gangs, investigators said.
According to deputies, detectives believe Guzman was inside a car and opened fire at a group on Carson Street. He was wounded when the rivals returned fire, causing Guzman to crash into a house a short distance from the gun battle. Guzman died three days later at a Modesto hospital.
No criminal charges have been filed in connection with Guzman's slaying.
Monday's violence marks the first shooting of 2018 in Merced County.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merced County Sheriff's Office at 209-385-7445 or 385-7472. Tips are confidential and callers may remain anonymous.