The victim is identified as 17-year-old Jorge Navarro. Deputies say he was shot in the head during a drive-by shooting. It happened around 7:30 Tuesday night near Martin Street and Road 27.
Investigators are trying to identify the car used in the shooting, after they say the victim's girlfriend and brother gave conflicting descriptions on the make, color and size of the vehicle.
The shooting happened on a busy road, while the sun was still out, and deputies believe someone witnessed the crime.
"We had three separate descriptions of vehicles and unfortunately none of them were even close," said Madera County Sheriff John Anderson. "Two of them were blue and one of them was grey and one was a van, one was an SUV and one was a car."
The sheriff is asking for the public's help in solving the county's 5th homicide of the year. He says a vehicle pulled up beside Jorge Navarro and two others, as they walked home from a neighborhood market. That's when he says the passenger pulled out a gun and fired one shot, striking Navarro in the head.
Sheriff Anderson explained, "We're going to have to interview his family, friends and things to find out if anyone was particularly mad at him or if in fact he was in involved in gang activities and those kind of things."
That's because Sheriff Anderson believes Navarro was targeted.
"We've had several drive-by shootings and they've all been either revenge type or this is the perfect m.o. of a gang type shooting," added Sheriff Anderson. "I don't know whether it is or not, but that's how they happen."
But neighbors we talked with aren't convinced.
"I never saw any gang activity," said Estevan Goldsmith. "He never had any company over there with the music or anything, he was always a family oriented young man."
Goldsmith lives across the street and has a son the same age. He describes Navarro as loving, helpful and protective of his family, and doesn't understand why anyone would want him dead.
"He'd help me clean the yard, he'd help me with our bikes," explained Goldsmith. "The kids would ask him for air. He'd help us with tools. Sometimes he'd help us with our dogs. The dogs would get out and he' hurry up and knock on our doors and say hey man your dogs are out. He was just real helpful, real alert when it came to the community."
This is Madera County's fifth homicide this year, the second drive-by shooting and four of the five people killed were teenagers.
If you have any information, deputies want to hear from you, and they say you can remain anonymous.