Caretaker shot, killed at a Merced apartment complex

MERCED, Calif.

The shooting happened at the Creek Side Apartment complex on Park Ave. and Park Pl. in Merced around 5:00 Wednesday evening. Police have not identified the accused shooter. He is in custody, however.

Investigators told Action News he tried to steal a driver's car at gunpoint, right outside the apartment where he shot and killed a 45-year-old caretaker.

Merced Police worked late into the night Wednesday, processing the crime scene for the city's latest murder. Investigators still don't know what prompted the deadly shooting. What they do know is a man walked onto an apartment complex armed with a gun and within minutes he opened fire.

"He just, the guy just came in and shot him," Mark Gomes said. Gomes also said the victim was a live-in caretaker for his wheelchair-bound brother-in-law. "The guy's crazy enough to come in the house and start shooting somebody, I'm just glad he didn't shoot [my brother-in-law]."

The victim's identity has not been released. "He was a nice guy," Gomes said. "Quiet and kept to himself."

Police said after the shooting the suspect ran from the complex. They said he also may have robbed a man at gunpoint. "Witnesses reported seeing him in the area of Bear Creek," Merced Police Lt. Andre Matthews said. "So officers responded to that area and detained him at that time."

Crews spent hours looking for any evidence the suspect may have thrown out into Bear Creek.

And even with the suspected killer in custody -- neighbors are still frightened. "I just can't imagine somebody doing that to a person," said neighbor Leo Zambrano. "I don't see a reason, a motive. It's a horrible thing."

Gomes said his brother-in-law, who witnessed the shooting, was not seriously injured in the attack. "He's disabled so he's doing the best he can right now," he said.

Police are expected to release more information about the suspect soon. This is Merced's fifth homicide so far this year.

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