Teen killed outside a Madera Carl's Jr. ID'd

MADERA, Calif.

Detectives say gang members shot him four times at point blank range near the restaurant on Madera Avenue just off Highway 99.

Madera Police have arrested two of the three juvenile suspects, and they believe they have the shooter in custody. Police are still searching for the third person involved. They're planning to have every available officer out on the streets looking for gang members.

Police combed the area outside the busy Carl's Jr. Wednesday after a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed in broad daylight. Investigators say Jesus Espinoza was walking with a friend when three young men approached them. They argued and then Espinoza tried to run away, but he tripped and fell. Detectives say the suspects shot him four times as he laid on the ground.

Sgt. Dino Lawson told Action News, "We believe at this point we do have the shooter in custody."

Sgt. Dino Lawson says the shooting was gang-related, and now his department is bringing in officers on their days off for a special enforcement effort. "Every resource we have available we're putting out in the field. We'll have directed enforcements going on tonight, specially targeting gangs."

Extra police and probation officers are also monitoring the Madera County Office of Education's campuses. Administrators say the victim and all of the other young men involved in the shooting were enrolled in their alternative education programs.

Steve Carney told Action News, "Our biggest concern is for the students and staff because obviously when you know the students involved, it's a crisis for us and a crisis for our students."

Carney says psychologists and counselors are helping students cope with the shooting -- even having them write letters to the victim's family. MCOE officials have also personally reached out to parents. "We have staff that is calling directly to the parents in all our programs just to let them know the campuses are safe."

Madera Police say they have seen a recent spike in gang violence. Sergeant Lawson told Action News, it's frustrating because often the gang members they arrest don't spend much time in jail. But he says that won't stop officers from doing their job.

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