Madera County sheriff's detectives say the shooting death of an 18-year-old man near Chowchilla may be the result of a local trend among teens known as "fusion parties."
Madera County Sheriff John Anderson held a news conference Monday afternoon to talk about the death of the teenager, who has been identified as Drakkar Lewis of Fairmead.
Lewis was fatally shot just after midnight early Sunday at a party near Avenue 18½ and Road 21, near the Pilot Truck Stop.
Anderson said Lewis is the second person in the past two months to be killed while attending a fusion party in Madera County. Fusion parties are organized through social media and text messaging, where underage youth often consume alcohol and illegal drugs.
In some cases, a flier is generated announcing a party, but with no address, and only a phone number to call. The rule is that attendees must either call or text that number to find the location of the party, according to Anderson.
The parties often end in violence, particularly after attendees have been drinking or using drugs, the sheriff said. Erica Stuart, sheriff’s spokesperson, said Lewis was seated in the right front passenger seat of a car and was about to leave the party when he was shot.
Stuart said the gunman walked up to the car and fired through the back rear window, killing Lewis. A 16-year-old girl was injured in the shooting.
Detectives do not believe Lewis was a member of a gang, Stuart said.
Lewis himself had hosted a fusion party in Fairmead on March 30, according to sheriff's officials.
At that party, 19-year-old Eleazar Iruegas was fatally shot and another man was critically wounded but survived. A third man was struck by gunfire but wasn’t seriously hurt.
Two Chowchilla residents, Antonio Michael Ybarra, 23, and Jose Pulido-Perez, 20, were arrested in the March 30 shooting. No suspects have been arrested in Lewis' death.
Stuart said groups of youths often organize the fusion parties without having any idea about who might show up. She said 14 shootings have been reported at fusion parties in unincorporated Madera County since the beginning of the year.
Madera County sheriff’s deputies ask anyone with information about Lewis’ death to call (559) 675-7770 or Crime Stoppers at 498-STOP.
-- Sun-Star staff