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Breaking news: Atwater homicide victim identified

ATWATER — A 33-year-old man shot dead around 8 p.m. Tuesday at a Foster's Freeze has been identified as David Valentine Ortiz of Atwater, according to the Merced County Coroner's Office.

No suspects are in custody, according to Atwater Police Detective Armando Echevarria.

Police arrived at the scene in the 1400 block of Winton Way and found the victim with several gunshot wounds. Police said the victim was standing outside the business, waiting for an order, when a lone gunman approached and fired several shots.

The suspect continued firing at the victim after he fell to the ground, police said. Police believe the suspect left the scene in a red subcompact car and sped away on Mitchell Road.

No one else was hurt, Echevarria said.

The homicide is the second in Atwater this year. The city’s other homicide happened last week. The victim in that case, 25-year-old Arturo Cisneros, was shot to death at his apartment 2000 block of Fruitland Avenue. No one has yet been arrested in that case.

Echevarria said there's no indication the homicide at Foster's Freeze was related to last week's shooting. Police haven't determined whether the case is gang-related.

Twenty homicides have been reported in Merced County this year.

Police believe there are patrons and witnesses who saw the shooting, but left the scene before officers arrived. Investigators are asking anyone with information about the crime to call (209) 357-6395 or the department’s tip-line (209) 357-6390. All callers will remain confidential.

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

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