Merced police are on the lookout after three shootings were reported Sunday afternoon, all at separate locations within a span of minutes of one another. Detectives believe the same people are behind all three shootings.
Two people were injured in two of the shootings, while one person escaped unharmed in the other. Police said both victims are expected to survive.
Police said details about the shootings are extremely preliminary. No suspects are in custody.
The first shooting was reported at 4:42 p.m. in the 300 block of West 19th Street near Martin Luther King Jr. Way at an apartment complex. Lt. Andre Matthews said the victim, a 19-year-old man, was approached by several people in a light-colored sedan. Words were exchanged and the man ran off. Shots were then fired, but the male was able to flee and was unhurt, Matthews said.
Four minutes later, another shooting was reported in the 500 block of East 23rd Street, near Orchard Lane. The victim, a 30-year-old man, had run out of gas and was pushing a car westbound on East 23rd Street. Witnesses reported seeing a light-colored sedan, possibly blue, and someone inside the car fired at the victim.
The victim was flown to a Modesto hospital. Witnesses said he was awake and was moving while being treated by paramedics.
The third shooting was reported to police at 5:04 p.m. at Parsons Avenue and East 27th Street. Police learned of the shooting after a 15-year-old boy arrived at a local hospital with gunshot wounds. He reported being shot by individuals in a car similar in description to the other shootings.
The boy told police that he and his friends were riding bicycles when a light colored sedan occupied by four Latino males approached them and asked what gang they were with. The boy said they ignored the people in the car and suddenly were being fired upon.
Few details are available about the shooters, described only as three or four Latino males, Matthews said. Some of the perpetrators were wearing ball caps.
Police consider all three shootings to be gang-related, although it remains under investigation whether any of the victims had gang affiliations themselves.
Police ask witnesses or anyone with details about the shootings to call Joe Deliman at (209) 385-6992 or the department's automated tip line 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.