17-year-old Golden Valley student shot, killed

A shooting Friday night that left one teen dead and another wounded is under investigation by the Merced Police Department.

The shooting, at the Sunnyside Apartments in the 900 block of D Street, happened around 11 p.m. Friday. A 17-year-old boy was killed, and a 16-year-old boy was flown by air ambulance to a regional hospital.

Although neither of the teens' names have been released by police, several sources identify the dead boy as Deangelo Smith. No one has been named as a suspect.

According to Lt. Bimley West, witnesses reported hearing four to five gunshots, and when officers arrived at the scene, they found two victims lying on the ground with gunshot wounds. Both teens were alive when the officers arrived on the scene. The 17-year-old was later pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, he said. Both victims were Merced residents.

West said one of the victims was sitting on a playground bench, and the other victim was walking to a residence when the shots were fired. He said the victims were friends.

According to police, the victims were shot by one or more people who were on foot. The suspects left the scene either on foot or in a vehicle prior to the arrival of the officers, West said.

Smith was a junior on the wrestling team at Golden Valley High School, and his wrestling coach and teacher, Chopper Mello, said Smith was an outstanding kid.

"He was a hard worker, very quiet, very respectful," Mello said. "We're not doing really well right now. The whole team is shocked."

Mello said a car wash was held Sunday to help Smith's family, and the team is going to be doing some other things to try and raise money for the family.

"I was his anatomy teacher and his coach," Mello said. "He worked really hard for me. He was one of our returning varsity wrestlers. He was the kind of kid you want to have around. He's going to be missed."

The shooting on D Street is not believed to be connected to a shooting reported earlier the same night at K and Main streets, West said. That shooting, during the second annual Cap 'n' Town event, wounded a 22-year-old man.

Police are asking anyone who witnessed the shooting or knows the identity of the suspects to call Detective Sgt. Scott Skinner at (209) 385-4702 or the department's automated tip line at (209) 385-4725. Callers can remain anonymous.

Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or creiter@mercedsun-star.com.