Man shot in South Merced dies

11/12/2008 3:54 PM

11/12/2008 7:49 PM

A large puddle of blood and spilled beer marks the spot where a man collapsed after being shot in broad daylight near the intersection of 10th and Q streets on Wednesday.

Merced police say details remain sketchy in the drive-by shooting, reported at 3:22 p.m. By 6:00 p.m., police said the man had died.

Lt. Bimley West said the victim, an unidentified Hispanic man in his late 20s, was shot while walking across the street. Investigators believe the shots were fired from a small, white compact car.

The victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his upper torso, West said, and was transported to Mercy Medical Center Merced in critical condition. He was unconscious when police arrived at the scene. “He lost quite a bit of blood,” West said.

The suspect made a U-turn at the intersection before the shots were fired. The white car then fled northbound on Q Street. The victim, who was holding a can of beer when he was shot, lived in the area, West said.

Witnesses described hearing a loud “boom,” similar to the sound of a tire popping, when the shooting happened. “He was on the road, lying flat on his stomach,” said a woman who saw the shooting’s aftermath. The woman declined giving her name, fearing retribution.

Police taped off the entire block on 10th Street, between P and Q streets, as officers went door-to-door, canvassing the area and talking to witnesses. The victim was alone when he was shot, police said.

West said it’s unknown whether the victim had any gang affiliations, and police do not know how many people were riding in the white car. No suspect descriptions were available at press time.

Luis Cortez, a 50-year-old man who lives in the area, was surprised when he returned from work, seeing the multiple police cars, the ambulance, and a small crowd of onlookers gathered nearby.

Cortez said many residents in his South Merced neighborhood know one another, and it’s not that violent on his street. “Usually by 9 or 10:00 p.m., everything is quiet,” Cortez said.

Police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call (209) 385-6905 or the department’s anonymous tip-line at (209) 385-4725.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.

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