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Homicide reported at South Merced apartment complex

SUN-STAR PHOTO BY MARCI STENBERG
 A huge area on the pavement with the blood stain of a 22-year-old man who was shot to death in South Merced early Thursday morning, is evidence of a crime committed near the entrance to the Sunnyside Family Apartments on D Street in Merced.
SUN-STAR PHOTO BY MARCI STENBERG A huge area on the pavement with the blood stain of a 22-year-old man who was shot to death in South Merced early Thursday morning, is evidence of a crime committed near the entrance to the Sunnyside Family Apartments on D Street in Merced. Merced Sun-Star

Editor's note: Do you have information about the victims? Please call the Sun-Star at (209) 385-2464 or e-mail bbowers@mercedsun-star.com

A 22-year-old man was killed early Thursday morning after being shot at a South Merced apartment complex in the 900 block of D Street.

The victim's name hasn't been released, pending notification of family or next-of-kin. Merced police say no suspects are in custody.

Police responded to the Sunnyside Apartments around 2:45 a.m. and found the victim with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Merced Police Lt. Tom Trindad.

The victim and another person were standing outside of the apartments when they were approached by three men, described as black male adults. The victim and his friend were confronted by trio and asked "what gang they belonged to." One of the men pulled out a gun and shot the victim, Trindad said.

Police said it's unknown whether the victim and his friend were affiliated with gangs.

The shooting is eerily similar to another killing which happened in the same block little more than a year ago. DeAngelo Smith, 17, was killed May 14 last year at the Sunnyside Apartments, located at 988 D Street. Smith and the 16-year-old male were seated on a park bench around 11 p.m. when the shooters, who had their faces covered with shirts, came from behind and fired.

Smith was pronounced dead not long after the shooting. The 16-year-old, who was shot twice, survived and has moved out of the area. Neither Smith nor the 16-year-old victim were gang members.

One person, 20-year-old Juan Manuel Mendez, was arrested and convicted by a jury of conspiracy to commit a crime and accessory in the Smith's killing. Mendez remains at the Merced County Jail awaiting sentencing. His next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 30.

Thursday's shooting is the fifth homicide reported in Merced, and the ninth reported in Merced County this year.

Detectives are asking anyone with information about Thursday's shooting to call Detective Chris Russell at (209) 385-4707 or (209) 385-4702, or the Merced Police Department's automated tipline at (209) 385-4725. Calls are kept confidential and you can remain anonymous. Tips can also be sent via anonymous text message by dialing "TIP411" (847411) and including the word "ComVIP" as the keyword in the text message.

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

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