Latest News

Arrest made in shooting death at Los Banos party

David Hampton, 23, of Dos Palos, was arrested Wednesday night in connection with the Sunday morning killing of 16-year-old Peter Fregoso of Los Banos, Sgt. Jason Goins of the Merced County Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Unit said.

Hampton was arrested at about 4 p.m. at his residence and offered no resistance. He was booked into Merced County Jail on a charge of murder, a gang enhancement and parole violation and remained there Wednesday night without bail.

Fregoso was shot twice at point-blank range about 12:30 a.m. at a birthday party on Ramos Road west of Los Banos. A 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old, both from Los Banos, were arrested as accessories to the homicide. They concealed information about the shooting and were hiding the weapon, which was recovered, Goins said.

Hampton's arrest culminated a 72-hour investigation by the 14 detectives in the Major Crimes Unit. He said detectives received tips that led to Hampton and the crime was gang-related.

"We have been extremely busy in the last three days," Goins said. "My detectives did an outstanding job."

Goins said the arrests should ease parents' anxiety about safety at the Merced County Spring Fair which opened Wednesday and runs through Sunday.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2485 or