19-year-old man injured in Winton shooting

A 19-year-old man is recovering after being injured in a drive-by shooting early Thursday morning at a Winton residence.

Merced County Sheriff's deputies say the crime is gang-related, but they believe the victim isn't a gang member and may have been targeted by mistake.

Deputies responded to the scene around 12:30 a.m. after receiving a call of shots fired in the 7000 block of North Winton Way. When deputies arrived, they discovered the victim was already on his way to the hospital with a gunshot wound to his upper thigh, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman.

Before the shooting, a group of people were standing with the victim in front of a residence when they saw a four door white Toyota sedan and a four door brown Mitsubishi Galant pass by, MacKenzie said.

The cars stopped up the street and one of the drivers flashed his high beams at the other. Both cars made a U-turn and stopped in front of the house. At least one person inside one of the cars fired several shots from a large caliber handgun and the victim was struck in the leg.

The others at the home took cover inside the residence, which was also struck, but no one else was hurt, MacKenzie said. The shooters then drove away.

Detectives believe the culprits are gang members, although none of the people gathered in front of the home have gang ties. MacKenzie said the victim may have been targeted as a case of mistaken identity.

The victim was taken to a Modesto hospital and is expected to survive.

— Sun-Star staff