18-year-old killed in Merced drive-by shooting identified

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Pieces of crime scene tape remain in the Walmart parking lot in Merced where 18-year-old Dominick Hernandez was killed.

His friends gathered nearby to light candles and pay their respects.

"Everybody who knew about Dom knew he was good-hearted, a good friend, good brother," says Benden Bates. "He cared about everyone, made everyone laugh so to hear about this, it sucks. We lost a good one."

People were startled by gunshots at the busy shopping center off Olive Avenue and Loughborough Drive around 6:30 Monday evening.

Authorities say Hernandez was driving a vehicle with other people inside when someone opened fire from another car.

"The young kid hollered across and the kid already had the gun out," says Dennis Briceno. "I mean, he had to have a lot of practice because he was at ease."

Police arrived to find Hernandez with multiple gunshot wounds. He was rushed to the hospital, where he later died.

"In cases like this, it is tragic," says Merced Police Lt. Joseph Perez. "You know, somebody so young, you have a lot more. People want to live long, fruitful lives. I have children that age and it hits us hard to see that violence like that shouldn't happen in somebody's life."

Hernandez played football for Atwater High School. His friends say they will remember him as a good athlete and an even better person.

"Man was crazy on the field," says Anthony Zimmerman. "One of the fastest out there. He would just always go hard on football and gve it 100 percent."

Police are still working to get a description of the suspect's vehicle and identify the shooter.

They say this is the eighth homicide in the city so far this year, compared to a total of nine for all of last year.

A GoFundMe has been started to help pay for funeral expenses.
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