Madera County shooting tied to drugs, investigators say

Detectives are looking into whether Craigslist played a role in a shooting in Madera County early Monday morning.
March 10, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Three teenagers are in custody after an early morning shooting in the North Valley, and now neighbors are describing the frightening scene that unfolded in their quiet gated community.

The shooting happened around 4:30 a.m. Monday on Avenue 26 near Road 19 in Madera County. One victim is now recovering from a gunshot wound. Investigators say the shooting appears to be the result of a drug deal gone wrong. It took them just hours to track down the suspects inside a gated Chowchilla community. Action News spoke with one neighbor who saw deputies move in with their weapons drawn.

The crime scene shut down part of Avenue 26 in Madera County early Monday morning. Sheriff's deputies and Chowchilla police responded after getting reports of a shooting. The victim's car ended up on the edge of a vineyard.

"One of the guys in the vehicle was struck; he is expected to survive. There was a second person in the victim's car; he's fine," said Erica Stuart, spokeswoman for the Madera County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives started collecting evidence in the dark and followed footprints to the Greenhills Estates gated community nearby. They say it appears three suspects -- ages 14, 17, and 19 -- climbed over the wall to escape, but they didn't get far.

"About 9 o' clock we noticed that there was a local police presence of Chowchilla policemen, and they were over at a house three houses down from us," said Tom Carlile, a neighbor.

Carlile says he watched as two of the suspects came out in handcuffs, and minutes later many more officers and deputies filled his street, including undercover detectives.

"They took positions outside of the house with assault rifles and handguns, and finally went into the house about an hour later and brought out a third suspect. He also was handcuffed and all three of them were taken away," said Carlile.

Jaleel Johnson, 19, of San Rafael was booked into the Madera County Department of Corrections. The other two suspects were booked into juvenile hall. All three face charges of attempted murder and robbery.

Investigators were initially told the whole incident started over shoes being sold on Craigslist, but they quickly learned that was not the case. Detectives say they later determined that the shooting was the end result of a drug transaction initiated through an online ad for marijuana. They say the three suspects allegedly set up a deal to purchase the drug from a Fresno supplier through Craigslist. When all of them met up, the victim was shot.

Detectives believe at least one of the suspects has ties to the home where he was caught. As for the shooting victim, his name and age have not been released, but authorities say he is from Fresno.


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