A 59-year-old man died early Monday after suffering a gunshot wound, the Merced Police Department reported.
The victim was identified Monday by the Merced County Coroner’s Office as Dean Barker, a taxicab driver and former Dos Palos police officer.
Officials confirmed he worked as a driver for the Merced Taxicab Co. and was shot in his work vehicle. Officials with the company did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.
Barker was a police officer in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Dos Palos Police Chief Barry Mann confirmed.
No arrests have been made, and no suspect descriptions were available Monday.
Officers responded just after midnight to the 300 block of Mimi Lane, where they found the victim with a gunshot wound in the front seat of a Merced taxicab, police said in a news release.
Barker was taken to an area hospital and pronounced dead a short time later, police said. Officers have not commented on any possible motives for the shooting.
The victim joined the Dos Palos Police Department in 1988 as a reserve and became a full-time officer a year later. He resigned in 1993 and may have left for employment at another law enforcement agency, Mann told the Sun-Star.
Merced police are asking anyone with any information regarding the crime to contact Sgt. Scott Skinner at (209) 385-6913 or (209) 385-4702, or the Merced Police Department’s Tipster Line at (209) 385-4725. The public can send information via anonymous text messages to police department by dialing “TIP411” (847411) and including the word “Comvip” as the “keyword” in the text message. Tips are confidential and callers may remain anonymous.
The incident marks the second homicide of 2015 in Merced. The coroner’s office has yet to release the name of the first homicide victim – a 52-year-old man who was shot and killed New Year’s Day in the 1300 block of West 12th Street in Merced.
A total of 32 homicides were reported in 2014 in Merced County, a record high that included 15 homicides in the city of Merced.