Authorities release new details in shooting death of former Merced Co. DA's son

ATWATER, Calif. (KFSN) -- Atwater investigators say the suspect responsible for killing 22-year-old Ethan Morse remains at large, and they believe he may still be in the area.

"Any loss of life is intolerable and we're going to do our best to catch this suspect," said Atwater Police Chief Michael Salvador.

The department released new details about the homicide investigation Monday.

Salvador says Ethan Morse, who's the son of the Former Merced County district attorney, Larry Morse, was in the area of Fir Avenue and Winton Way to drop off his daughter at childcare shortly before the shooting.

"This suspect was familiar with the area. He was not concerned there was video cameras watching him. And he fled on foot with is unusual for a suspect of that type," Salvador said.

Back in 2014, Ethan Morse was arrested after being accused of taking part in a deadly shooting near Atwater, but a Merced County judge found him factually innocent of the charges during a preliminary hearing.

Chief Salvador couldn't say if Morse was targeted based on those past accusations.

"We still need the public's help. We don't have a motive at this time locked down, but we believe due to the traffic in the area, we have multiple witnesses," he said.

Larry Morse did give Action News a statement, "We're continuing to get updates on the investigation." Adding, "We appreciate the work law enforcement agencies are putting into this case."

The Department of Justice has a task force out of both Merced County and Fresno helping with the investigation.

Salvador says the Atwater Police Department is receiving legal consultation from the Merced County District Attorney's office. However, he expects the office to recuse itself once there's an arrest.

Authorities say the suspect is a Hispanic male, last seen wearing a blue shirt and red pants.

If you know anything, you're asked to either call Atwater Police, or Merced County Crimestoppers.
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