Suspect, victim ID'd in Merced shooting

FRESNO, Calif.

Investigators are still trying to answer many questions about the reason for this deadly shooting. But they found a gun that may be the murder weapon.

The deadly daylight shooting at a Merced apartment complex on Wednesday still has tenants feeling uneasy. Nathan Braswell lives just a few doors down from the murder scene and knew the victim, Raymond Garza. The 47-year-old was the caretaker of his disabled roommate.

Braswell said, "It's sad, he was just a great guy, he'd always come by and talk with us, was always cooking, he took real good care of that guy, it's gonna be sad, I can't believe someone would do that."

Police have now identified the shooting suspect as Michael Wilkins. They say he also robbed a driver near the apartment complex shortly after the shooting. But witnesses helped officers track him down not far from the crime scene. Tips also led divers to search Bear Creek for evidence Wednesday night and again on Thursday.

Lt. Tom Trinidad said, "The sheriff's department had their dive team come out, and we located some evidence and were able to find a gun that was possibly used in the crime."

Lieutenant Tom Trinidad says that's a critical piece of the investigation, but now detectives are working to answer the questions that remain, including what motivated the shooting, and if the suspect targeted the victim.

"We don't know how he gained entry into the apartment, we don't know the relationship between the two of them, if there was one," Lt. Trinidad said. "So at this time it's still undetermined and hopefully more will follow."

Lieutenant Trinidad tells Action News the suspect has had prior contact with police. They're not releasing his picture right now because of the on-going investigation. He's being held in jail on murder charges.

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