Two men injured in Atwater shooting late Thursday

Two men were injured in a shooting Thursday night in the 1100 block of Swaps Street, after someone fired up their vehicle, Atwater police reported.

The victims are expected to survive and no suspects are in custody, according to Detective Adolfo Lomeli.

The incident was reported around 11:30 p.m. after police received a call about a white four-door vehicle leaving the area of the shooting. Police responded and spotted a white four-door Honda driving away at a high rate of speed.

After pulling the car over, police made contact with the two male occupants, ages 19 and 21. Lomeli said both men were suffering from gunshot wounds. The 19-year-old man was treated at Mercy Medical Center Merced, while the 21-year-old was flown to a Modesto hospital.

At the scene of the shooting, police found shell casings from a high-powered caliber gun, possibly an assault rife.Officers believe the victims were driving through the area when someone on foot fired upon the Honda. No description of the shooter is available.

Police believe the crime is gang-related, particularly because one of the victims has a history of being affiliated with a Merced gang. Lomeli pointed out that gang is the rival of an Atwater gang.

Detectives are asking anyone with information to call Detective Anthony Cardoza at (209) 357-6293 or the department's automated tipline at (209) 357-6390. Tips are kept confidential and you can remain anonymous.

-- Sun-Star staff