Friends speak out as police search for suspect in shooting that killed former Merced County DA's son

ATWATER, Calif. (KFSN) -- A killer still on the run.

Atwater police are continuing to follow up on leads in hopes of catching the person responsible for shooting 22-year-old Ethan Morse.

"It doesn't matter who it is; we take these cases seriously. We're using all our resources to bring this person to justice," said Police Chief Michael Salvador.

Police say Morse was shot at least twice on Friday along the busy intersection of Winton Way and Fir Avenue.

RELATED: Ethan Morse, the son of former Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse has been killed in drive-by shooting in Atwater

Salvador says they're trying to piece together the victim's last 24 hours, and need the public's help.

"Any piece of information no matter how small is valuable to this investigation," he said.

Ethan Morse is the son of the former Merced County District Attorney, Larry Morse, and a father to a young girl.

He's a great kid. I used to coach him. It was devastating to hear that. It's surreal," said family friend Rob Carroll.

Carroll is an attorney and worked at the Merced County DA's office.

He's known Ethan Morse for years and says he was an athlete and wanted to go to college.

"He loved to wrestle. He earned an athletic scholarship," Carroll said.

However, that scholarship was taken away after Morse was arrested back in 2014 and accused of murder following a deadly house party shooting in Atwater.

A judge later dismissed the charges, Morse was found factually innocent.

"That is something extremely rare. In the legal community, for someone to be factually innocent," Carroll said. "They are innocent. He didn't do it."

Father Rex Hays is a friend of the Morse family, says the news was heartbreaking.

He says Morse called him "Uncle Rex" and says at the end of the day, was a son, father, and friend lost too soon.

"People have been unjust. Anyone that knew Ethan loved Ethan," he said.

The question is whether this murder has anything to do with Morse's past accusations and if he was targeted.

When we asked, the chief says those are factors they include in the investigation, however, he could not comment any further.
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