Three families were celebrating New Year's Eve together when they say two young men they had never met came into the house, trying to hide from someone. The residents say that was the start of a terrifying night that ended with a homicide.
Two grieving parents waited helplessly in a north Merced cul-de-sac as detectives searched the scene where their son was found dead. Neighbors said the family that lives next door discovered his body near their fence.
"They didn't find out someone was in their backyard until they woke up this morning," a neighbor said.
One woman said her family and two others were celebrating New Year's Eve together when two young men they had never met walked into the house, trying to hide from someone. The residents made the young men leave and locked up before a man with a knife started banging on their sliding glass door.
The family called police, and a short time later, neighbors reported hearing gunfire.
"There was a call of individuals running around this neighborhood. Of course, it's New Year's Eve and then shortly after that several calls of shots fired in this neighborhood," Sgt. Scott Skinner with the Merced police department said.
Two of the bullets hit the home next door.
"When my dad woke up, its inches from his bed, so it could have been him hit. So yeah, it's pretty scary," a neighbor said.
Officers searched the area, but did not find any victims or suspects so they left to handle other calls. They did not return until around 9 a.m. when the young man's body was found.
Officers are looking into reports of a large party down the street that may have involved gang members.
"There were parties all over here, but hopefully later during the investigation more will come out," Skinner said.
The victim's parents did not want to speak on camera, but they identified their son as 21-year-old Marcus fisher. They say he loved the green bay packers and playing video games. They also said his 19-year-old brother was shot to death during a triple homicide at this home near Atwater in March. Now as they mourn the loss of another child, police are searching for suspects in their first homicide case of 2014.
"Hopefully this is not a sign of what's to come," Skinner said.
Police have not confirmed yet how the victim died, but they say it is likely he was shot to death.