Teen critical after drive-by shooting

A 17-year-old boy shot outside an Atwater apartment complex last week remains on life support in critical condition, Atwater police said Monday.

The shooting was reported Thursday at 9:23 p.m. in the 2800 block of Secretariat Drive.

Police said they're releasing few details about the shooting to protect the integrity of their investigation.

Detective Armando Echevarria said the victim was outside, helping some friends move, when the drive-by shooting happened. Echevarria wouldn't disclose how many times the victim was shot or the nature of his wounds.

The shooting is believed to be gang-related, police said. Echevarria said gangs are also known to frequent the area where the shooting happened.

Atwater detectives are being assisted by agents with the Merced Multi-Agency Gang Task Force in the case.

A dark-colored or gray Honda, possibly with a spoiler on the back, was seen leaving the area, Echevarria said.

The juvenile was flown to the hospital after being shot. No one else was hurt.

A description of the suspects isn't yet available.

Police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Detective Adolfo Lomeli at (209) 357-6387 or the department's automated tip line at (209) 357-6390. Tips are kept confidential, and you can remain anonymous.

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