State

2 killed in Winton shooting

WINTON -- A crimson spatter of dried blood on concrete and a bullet-riddled Ford Probe mark the spot where two men were fatally cut down in a hail of bullets Wednesday in front of a Winton home.

In what Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin called "a nauseating display of savagery," deputies said three others were injured in the shooting. One was a 32-year-old female bystander who was standing next to her 4-year-old son when the shooting erupted.

Investigators say the boy was unhurt.

The shooting was reported at 9:36 p.m. at a residence on the 7000 block of Peridot Avenue.

Pazin identified the victims as Andres Rodriguez, 21, and Abraham Valenzuela, 18, both of Winton.

Pazin said the men were outside the home when they were approached by three to four suspects. The suspects fired about 40 rounds at the men.

Rodriguez, who used a wheelchair, died in the driveway of the home. Valenzuela was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Valenzuela's 39-year-old father was shot in his left ankle and right thigh, and another man at the scene, 23, was shot in the elbow. Both men and the woman who was shot are expected to recover, said deputy Tom MacKenzie, a sheriff's spokesman.

The crime is considered gang-related, Pazin said, adding that the 23-year-old man is a gang member.

A verbal altercation earlier in the week is believed to have led to the shooting, Pazin said.

Investigators speculate the suspects parked their car about a block away from the house, walked to the house, and fired from about 15 to 20 yards off. Detectives haven't released a description of the suspects or the car.

Some residents reported hearing the shots, thinking that someone was igniting firecrackers.

Maria Coon said she bought a house with her husband in the neighborhood a month ago.

"We've never lived anywhere where these kinds of things happen," Coon said. "I thought this was a nice place, but I don't know anymore."

Six homicides have been reported in Merced County this year.

Sheriff's investigators are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Detective Corey Gibson at 385-7472, ext. 4994. Callers can remain anonymous.

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