Crime

Man shot to death identified; new details emerge, including Cadillac

A 23-year-old man who was shot to death early Sunday morning has been identified as Ricardo Ramirez by the Merced County Coroner.

However, Atwater police haven't released new details in the gang-related slaying, although on Monday they did release photos of the suspect's gold mid-1990s model Cadillac DeVille. The photos were taken from a camera inside of an officer's patrol car.

The shooting was reported before 1 a.m. in the 800 block of East Bellevue Road. Police said the shooters' car had no license plate. A description of the shooters isn't available.

Officer Fred Robinson saw the Cadillac speeding away. He turned on his emergency lights and pulled over the car at East Bellevue Road and Santa Fe Drive.

When the car was pulled over, the officer wasn't aware someone had been shot, said detective Armando Echevarria.

After Robinson got out of his patrol car, the Cadillac sped away. Robinson continued the pursuit while police received a call about a gunshot victim. The victim was found outside on the ground, suffering from several gunshot wounds. He died at Mercy Medical Center Merced.

A police supervisor and another officer joined Robinson in the pursuit, which continued into Merced on Santa Fe Drive. The driver of the Cadillac eluded police around West Olive Avenue and G street in Merced. Officers reduced their speed to ensure the safety of other drivers.

Echevarria said Merced police and the CHP were notified of the pursuit. But the chase ended within minutes.

The homicide is the fourth reported in Atwater this year and the 24th reported in Merced County.

Atwater police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Echevarria at (209) 357-6395 or the department's automated tip line at (209) 357-6390. Calls are kept confidential, and you can remain anonymous.

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

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