Teen dead, multiple injuries in Merced shootings

FRESNO, Calif.

Merced officers responded to two shootings overnight.

"We need to stop this spree of crime that's happening in our communities," said Lt. Bimley West, Merced Police Department.

Around 11 pm Thursday, officers responded to an incident on the north side of town, where two groups of Asian males were arguing near the Food 4 Less.

"They said there was a guy in a Honda-type vehicle traveling west bound on Olive that shot at a guy. The next thing we know, the victim was at the hospital and had sustained a gunshot wound to the hand," Lt. West said.

Just about an hour later, the Merced Police Department responded to a second shooting this time on the 1000 block of W street.

When officers arrived they found Romero lying on the ground. Merced Police say the teenager had been shot multiple times. He later died en route to the hospital.

A witness at the scene, who did not want to be identified, recalled what happened.

"He rode up to my people up there," said the eyewitness pointing to an apartment 1053 W St. "Like he knew them and then stopped, turned back around and all you hear is the gunshots start firing and we just ran."

Eyewitnesses say bullets flew across the complex, hitting homes and even people. One young lady showed Action News an injury from a bullet narrowly grazing her shoulder.

In both cases, it appears the presence of gangs played a role in the shootings.

"When you mix gangs, drugs and alcohol together, it creates a fire in our communities that is very difficult to extinguish without the public's assistance," Lt. Bimley.

Merced police are hoping the community will help them out by calling in information about the cases. Until then, gang units and officers will continue to patrol areas to help cut down on crime.

Romero's death marks the city's fourth homicide of the year. Last year, nine people were killed in Merced.

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