Authorities increase presence following fatal Planada shooting

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Planada is less than two square miles but starting Friday nighy five patrol units will be ever-present. (KFSN)

Planada is less than two square miles but starting Friday night, five patrol units will be ever-present. The sheriff says while their presence is important -- what he really needs is the town's cooperation.

Less than a week after sweeping gang members, drugs, and weapons off the street. Deputies found themselves back in Planada cleaning up the mess left by two warring factions.
Related: Deputies carry out compliance checks throughout Merced County

It's not just families living here, detectives are troubled too. Since January, there have been at least 12 shootings. Then Thursday, the rivalry claimed it's first two lives of the year.

Related: Two killed by gunfire outside a Planada market identified

"These two groups got at the same taco truck, at the same time to do one thing: to eat, but when they saw each other it went sideways," Warnke said.

Sheriff Vern Warnke says both men who died were affiliated with gangs and he's anticipating retaliation.

The sheriff is also looking long-term. Once the department's staffing is back to normal levels he intends to rebuild specialized units -- starting with one targeting street gangs. However, he says the most valuable resource has to come from the town itself.

"We get in there and nobody wants to give us information, that's how we get these cases solved, yet their not happy because they are having these problems."

Until then, deputies will be ever-present in Planada. Operations like the one from last week will pick up. The sheriff says more resources are coming.
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