Turlock man arrested on suspicion of murder

A Turlock man was arrested in Merced County on suspicion of shooting a 26-year-old man who was found dead Wednesday night in an orchard in Snelling, a sheriff’s spokesman said today.

Daniel Melo, 35, was arrested on suspicion of murder, said Merced County sheriff’s deputy Tom MacKenzie, Melo was being held at the Merced County Jail, and his bail was set at $1 million.

Sheriff’s officials identified the victim as Agaton Gumanday III. They did not have his place of residence.

About 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, sheriff’s officials responded to a report of shots fired and a man down in the 6000 block of Turlock Road.

MacKenzie said deputies arrived at the scene and found the victim laying on the ground in the orchard.

He said Melo reported the shooting, and he was at the scene when the deputies arrived. The deputies took Melo into custody for questioning.

Detectives sealed-off the crime scene because there was not enough available light to collect evidence in the remote area.

The detectives returned this morning, determined the death was a homicide, and later arrested Melo.MacKenzie said it appeared a small caliber handgun was used in the shooting.

No further details were released.

He said Gumanday’s cause of death, although believed to be gunshot wounds, is still uncertain pending an autopsy.