Crime

Gang member, drunken driver arrested in shooting investigation in Merced, police say

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Two people were arrested early Sunday after police said they opened fire from a car in Merced.

No injuries were reported when shots rang out just after 1 a.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 1400 block of East Olive Avenue. Witnesses told police gunshots were fired from the passenger window of a vehicle. Investigators found multiple shell casings in the area, officers said in a news release Sunday.

Police a short time later tracked down the vehicle they believe the shots came from and found a loaded Springfield Armory .45-caliber pistol under the front passenger seat, authorities said in the statement.

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Ismael Noriega, 34, left, and Rosa Valencia, 33, were arrested Sunday, June 9, 2019, in connection with a shooting investigation in Merced, the Police Department reported. Photos courtesy of the Merced Police Department

The alleged shooter was identified by police as 34-year-old Ismael Noriega, described by police as a known gang member and convicted felon. The driver, who police said was under the influence alcohol, was identified as 33-year-old Rosa Valencia. Both people were arrested at the scene of the traffic stop, authorities said.

Noriega was booked into the Merced County jail on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and street-gang allegations. Valencia was booked on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm and driving under the influence, according to jail records.

Valencia remained in custody Sunday afternoon with bail set at more than $12,000, according to jail records.

Noriega was not immediately listed as an inmate Sunday.

Police did not comment on a motive for the shooting and did not say whether they believe there was an intended target in the attack.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merced Police Department at 209-385-6912 or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at 209-85-4725. The public can send information via anonymous text messages to police by dialing “TIP411” (847411) and including the word “Comvip” as the “keyword” in the text message.

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