Coroner's office identifies victim of Thursday's shooting

The Merced County coroner's office has identified the victim of Thursday's deadly shooting at a South Merced apartment complex as Destry Woods, 20, of Merced.

Woods was killed in the driveway of the Sunnyside apartment complex in the 900 block of D Street. Police arrived at the complex at 2:45 a.m. and found Woods with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

When the crime was reported, police said Woods was 22 years old. They learned later that he was younger.

Sgt. Scott Skinner, supervisor of the department's investigations division, said detectives have met with Woods' family and are following up on leads. No suspects have been arrested, and police are hoping witnesses will come forward to help find the killer.

Skinner said it's likely that someone saw what happened because the area is well lit.

Woods didn't live in the Sunnyside apartment complex. Detectives believe he had been in the area to visit a friend. Skinner said detectives hope to speak with the individual but have only a first name.

Police believe Woods and another man were standing outside of the apartments when three black men approached them. Woods and his friend were asked "what gang they belonged to." One of the three men pulled out a gun and shot Woods.

Members of Woods' family have maintained that he wasn't a gang member.

Woods was never arrested by Merced police for any gang crimes, Skinner said, although there was at least one encounter with police during which he admitted to affiliating with gang members. That was in 2009, Skinner said, and Woods was with a 19-year-old man who was arrested for possessing a loaded firearm.

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

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

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