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Drive-by shooting targets Atwater man

ATWATER -- A 20-year-old Atwater man escaped injury Wednesday night when his car was strafed by gunfire in the 1300 block of Third Street.

Detective Armando Echevarria of the Atwater Police Department said someone in a brown two-door Honda Civic pulled up alongside the victim's vehicle and the bullets flew.

Echevarria said the 8:17 p.m. drive-by shooting is believed to be gang-related. The victim was able to drive away uninjured. Investigators located numerous large-caliber bullet casings in the road and vehicle.

Atwater Police Chief Richard Hawthorne said the late-August arrest of 32 A-Town gang members in a crackdown following a two-year investigation had quieted down gang-related shootings lately.

However, Atwater still has its gang issues, he added.

Two Hispanic men are believed responsible in the latest incident but no further description of them was available, Echevarria said.

Anyone with information about Wednesday's shooting is asked to contact Officer Chris Hambrecht with the department's Street Crime Unit at 358-4291 or the newly formed countywide gang task force at 726-6501.

Callers can remain anonymous.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209-385-2485 or">