The shooting happened late Sunday at about 11:30 pm in a neighborhood on Primrose Avenue near Green Street.
Police responded to multiple 911 calls reporting that there had been a fight, and at some point, shots were fired.
Officers found the male victim with a gunshot wound. He was taken to a local hospital and was last reported in critical condition.
Investigators are still working to determine a motive for the shooting. No suspect description has been released.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merced Police Department.