Its has been a devastating three months for one Chowchilla man, after the grandson he raised was murdered at a party in April.
18-year-old Drakkar Lewis was a college student and an altar boy at St. Columba Church in Chowchilla. He was the second person killed in a month at what's known as a 'fusion party'.
The parties are organized off the radar, away from the prying eyes of parents, because they include underage drinking and drug use.
CBS47’s Kathryn Herr spoke with Drakkar's grandfather and shows you what happens inside these parties and the warning for parents.
Tom Bertrand's raised Drakkar since he was a year-and-a-half old.
Drakkar graduated from Chowchilla High School. And was studying criminal justice at Reedley college. His grandfather thinks he wanted to go into law enforcement.
On April 20th, Drakkar went to a party with friends and never came home. The party is known as a fusion party, a dangerous mix of music and dancing, social media and gangs, and lots of drugs and alcohol... and underage, unsupervised kids.
Bertrand said, "The way these things work, they send out text messages then they make a phone call and find out where the parties going to be."
Bertrand has become somewhat of an expert on fusion parties. His grandson, Drakkar, hosted one when he was out of town. "He made sure that I didn't know anything about it because if I had known it never would have happened," said Bertrand.
Hundreds of people showed up at the family's home near Fairmead, far more than those who were invited.
Members of rival gangs also showed up and there was a fight and a shooting. 19-year-old Eleazar Iruegas was killed and two others were wounded. "After I got over being upset at what he had done, I talked to him about being responsible because he knew he had done the wrong thing. Because he had called me up that night of the party talking about how sorry he was. I got the phone call at 3:00 a.m. in the morning and I knew there was a problem," said Bertrand.
Bertrand took two weeks off work to spend with Drakkar, and he told him to stay away from the fusion parties. "When you're only 18-years-old sometimes you don't listen. They use lip service... yes dad, no dad, but its not really listening to what you're saying. And you know what happened to him shortly thereafter, three weeks later, I'm getting another phone call," said Bertrand.
When Bertrand went back to work, Drakkar went to another fusion party. Drakkar was followed to his car by a gang member who shot him in the head.
Drakkar wasn't in a gang but Madera County Sheriff John Anderson believes the gang member blamed Drakkar for his friend's death. "I think it was a revenge type thing. The friend of his alleged killer was killed at Drakkar's house. And they probably blamed him for having the party and letting it get out of control," said Sheriff Anderson.
Investigators say Drakkar's accused killer, Estevan Rodriguez, and the man murdered at drakkar's party were in the same gang.
Rodriguez has a tattoo of the victim on his arm that reads: "Miss you bro".
There were three fusion parties in Madera County in just a month. At those three parties, 7 people were shot and two of those people died, including Drakkar.
Bertrand is now sharing his story to try and prevent other families from going through his pain and to urge those who witnessed Drakkar's murder to come forward. "There are a lot of people out there who were witnesses to what happened to my son. They need to come forward. They need to come forward. I know that they're probably afraid but if it can happen to Drakkar it can happen to one of them too. We need to get these kind of people off the streets," said Bertrand.
Esteven Rodriguez is under arrest for Drakkar's murder, but investigators want to talk to witnesses.
Authorities recommend you monitor your children's Facebook accounts, text messages, emails and any other social networking, which is how fusion parties are advertised.
Anyone who witnessed the murder of Drakkar Lewis is asked to contact Madera sheriff's detectives Ben Romiti or Rob Blehm at (559) 675-7770.
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