City of Merced sees spike in homicides

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Merced police said a young woman had just stepped out the front door of a home around 9:00 Monday night -- when two male suspects walked up and shot her in the chest. Neighbors told us off camera the 21-year-old victim has always been nice and polite, and they were shocked by the shooting.

Capt. Tom Trindad with the Merced Police Department said, "We'll have to check into the victim's background to see if there's something that possibly caused this to occur. The family is saying they knew of no reason someone would want to do such a horrible act."

The victim was rushed to a Modesto hospital, and detectives are now looking for the gunmen. But they also have their hands full with several other cases. Just last week a pregnant 17-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy were shot and wounded in Central Merced. One week earlier, a man was stabbed to death in north Merced. And a 16-year-old boy was gunned down outside Tenaya Middle School.

"We've had 5 homicides this year, and we're in week 7 of the year," said Mayor Stan Thurston. "That's too close to one a week. We'd end up the year at 40 or 45 homicides. That just can't happen here."

Mayor Stan Thurston said the council is now looking for ways to put more funding toward public safety after hearing from the police chief during a budget study session Monday night. The ideas include money for additional officers, new crime fighting technology, and community oriented programs. In fact, officials had just finished their meeting when this latest shooting happened.

Mayor Thurston said, "Total frustration, almost like you want to scream, like ahhhh! That just pushes us as elected officials to do things harder and faster."

The police department used to have about 30 more officers before the recession started. The mayor said the goal is to add at least one officer a year for the next five years. The city is also looking at buying license plate readers for certain intersections so detectives can see who was in the area when crimes occur. null
Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.