Police seeking help in the Atwater killing of Ethan Morse
Atwater police released few new details Monday in a news conference about the investigation into the killing of 22-year-old Ethan Morse, the son of former Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II.
Chief Michael Salvador said Morse was in the area of Fir Avenue and Winton Way at about 10 a.m. March 15 to drop his daughter off at daycare. Morse was shot multiple times and died before he reached the hospital, according to Salvador.
Police updated the description of the man who shot Morse. Cops are looking for a Hispanic man last seen wearing a blue T-shirt, dark glasses and red pants. He was spotted in surveillance footage and did not immediately leave the area after shooting Morse, according to Salvador.
“This suspect was familiar with the area. He was not concerned that there were video cameras watching him,” he said. “He fled on foot, which is kind of unusual for a suspect of that type.”
Police said the man fled eastbound on Fir Avenue. The suspect was seen at other locations in Atwater, Salvador said, and may still be in the area.
Investigators said there were likely other witnesses near the busy intersection during the shooting.
“The motive is still unclear,” Salvador said. “We just know this was a very, very deliberate act.”
The chief said police do not plan to release any video footage, citing a need to protect the investigation. He said he may release a photo of the suspect by the end of the week.
Morse’s funeral was Saturday. The standout high school wrestler graduated from Golden Valley High School in 2014, according to his obituary.
“This is a tragedy. We do extend our condolences to the Morse family,” Salvador said. “We have confidence that we’re going to solve this case.”
Police ask anyone with information on the crime to call the Atwater Police Department at 209-357-6396 or 209-357-6384. The Merced Area Crime Stoppers line is 855-725-2420, and it accepts text messages at 274637.