Police still searching for suspects in shooting outside Visalia house party

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The hosts say the gathering was with close friends-no troublemakers or gang members. They say shots rang out when the party was just about over. (KFSN)

Police detectives are still searching for whoever shot and killed a young man outside a Visalia house party. The gathering included a barbeque, a birthday party, and pre-season football.

The hosts, who didn't want to be identified on camera, say the gathering was with close friends-no troublemakers or gang members.

They say shots rang out when the party was just about over.

"At first I thought it was fireworks," one of the hosts said. "And then I looked outside the window, and I could just see the light from the gun and I could see the guy (running away)." "People were leaving like 30 minutes maybe before that happened, and if everybody would have been here, a lot more people would have been shot."

Visalia Police say someone walked up outside the house and began shooting, hitting Hector Xavier Chavez. Chavez later died at a hospital. Police are still looking for the suspect.

"We do believe there were some gang members at this party, we don't know if this was a gang-related incident at this time, it's too early to tell," said Visalia Police Sgt. Damon Maurice.

Police also don't know if Chavez was the intended target of the shooting. His aunt doesn't believe he was and says Xavier (as he was known), wasn't involved with gangs either.

She and his grandmother took care of him. His father was also murdered in Fresno ten years ago.

"Now that we're in this situation, I see that people really appreciate him," Virginia Chavez said. "I think that they felt sorry for him in a way."

She says Xavier had ADHD, and because he was different, people sometimes took advantage of him. But before his death, his aunt says he was doing well.

He filled out a handful of job applications and talked about wanting to go to Mexico.

Related Topics:
homicide investigationtulare countyVisalia
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