Planada teenager dies in gang shooting

12/10/2013 7:08 PM

12/10/2013 7:09 PM

A 16-year-old suspected gang member was gunned down late Monday on the Planada street where another man who police say was from the same gang was shot and killed nearly three weeks ago, authorities said Tuesday.

Asbiel Copado was shot multiple times in the upper body around 8:21p.m. and pronounced dead a short time later at an area hospital, Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin said Tuesday at a news conference.

“This is just an absolute down-and-dirty murder,” Pazin said.

Copado was shot on the street in the 9300 block of Bigler Drive – near the spot where 24-year-old Eric Perez Guzman was shot to death Nov. 21. Copado and Guzman were members of the same Planada criminal street gang, Pazin said.

Sheriff’s deputies said they found Copado “bleeding profusely” from multiple gunshot wounds to his chest.

No arrests have been made in either death.

Deputies closed Bigler between De La Guerra Street and Vallejo Avenue late Monday. Two Sheriff’s Department evidence tags could be seen on the ground on the northwest side of the roadway.

Several area residents declined to comment Monday night about the shootings.

It was not clear how many times Copado was shot or if there was more than one shooter. Results of an autopsy conducted Tuesday were not available.

Copado’s death is the 28th homicide of the year in Merced County, according to reports.

The Sheriff’s Department said both murders seem to center around the same house in the 9300 block of Bigler. Pazin indicated that at least one person may have been present at the home during each homicide.

Pazin described the deaths as “precision-style executions” and said that while investigators suspect Copado and Guzman may have been killed by rivals, they have not ruled out the possibility of a violent internal conflict within the gang.

Authorities described Copado and Guzman as well-known gang members who had histories with law enforcement.

Pazin expressed frustration on Tuesday with what he characterized as a pattern of noncooperation from the community in murder investigations.

“Again, no one sees anything, no one hears anything, then we get persons clamoring for law enforcement to do something,” Pazin said. “If no one comes forward, how can we get the necessary witnesses and collect the necessary evidence to present a case to the District Attorney?”

Pazin noted there are many tips lines available for the public to provide information anonymously.

Anyone with information regarding either shooting is asked to call (209) 385-7445. Tips are confidential and callers may remain anonymous.

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