A 21-year-old suspected gang member has been arrested in connection with a 2014 homicide case, the Merced Police Department reported Thursday.
William Villegas was arrested Thursday on suspicion of murder for the death on Oct. 2, 2014, of 27-year-old Steven Mays, Merced police said in a news release.
Mays was shot while riding his bicycle in the 1100 block of M Street. He was found on the ground in an intersection suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was rushed to a Modesto hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Capt. Bimley West on Thursday told the Merced Sun-Star that investigators believe the case is gang-related, but declined to elaborate on the motive in the case.
“That’s something we’re still working on at this time,” West said.
Police on Thursday said Detectives Jeff Horn and Paul Johnson recently developed new leads in the case that led them to naming Villegas as a suspect.
Detectives and officers from the department’s gang unit tracked Villegas on Wednesday to an apartment in the 1200 block of West First Street. He was captured after a brief foot chase, according to police.
He was booked into the Merced County jail without bail on suspicion of murder and criminal street gang participation. He remained in custody Thursday, according to booking records.
Jail records show Villegas was arrested earlier this year on a gang participation change.
The Merced County District Attorney’s Office expects to begin reviewing the homicide case Friday, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Rob Carroll.
Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482