Four suspected gang members were arrested Monday in connection with the slaying of a 25-year-old man at a north Merced house party in August, according to Merced police.
Matthew Galvan was shot by people from his own street gang Aug. 31 in the 600 block of Cornell Court, Capt. Tom Trindad said. He died the next day at regional hospital.
“These arrests are the product of a variety of things, including excellent work by the detectives following up on leads in the case,” Trindad said.
Police on Monday arrested Jose M. Vicuna, 21, Apolonio T. Serena, 18, a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy, whom police believe was the gunman on the night Galvan was shot, Merced police said in a news release.
Serena was 17 at the time of the shooting, police confirmed.
Vicuna and Serena were booked into the Merced County jail on suspicion of homicide and gang affiliation. The teenagers were booked into the Iris Garret Juvenile Justice Correctional Complex on the same allegations, police said.
Vicuna is serving a 16-month sentence in state prison. He pleaded guilty in September to a felony count of possession of a firearm by a person legally prohibited from having weapons, according to Merced Superior Court records.
Police said Galvan had been told he was not in good standing with his gang and went to the party on Cornell Court “to defend his status.” Officers said Galvan and several others “exchanged words” just before the violence erupted.
The juveniles taken into custody Monday were previously arrested in August after the party on probation violations but were said to be possible suspects in Galvan’s slaying. Neither teenager was formally accused in the homicide until Monday, Trindad confirmed.
Trindad said police detectives worked closely with the Merced County District Attorney’s Office to develop “strong” evidence in the case.
“We have been working very closely with the police detectives and anticipate filing charges in the case soon,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Rob Carroll said Monday.
Trindad praised the work of the officers and prosecutors involved, particularly the work done by Detective Joseph Deliman, the lead investigator in the case.