PLANADA, Calif. - A violent shootout in Planada leaves two men dead and another injured. The Merced County Sheriff's Office said the suspects are still on the run.
It all happened on Thursday night just after 8pm near the intersection of Plainsburg Road and Highway 140. Investigators said the shooting was gang related and the victims and suspects were all armed. One of the men who died has been identified as 27-year old Pedro Lua of Planada.
Less than 24 hours after a fatal shooting, it was business as usual at The Elcampo Market and Ramon's Taco Truck in Planada.
Marisa Garcia lives right around the corner. She said minutes before bullets went flying, she was across the street picking up milk.
"When I came out to the parking lot, I could hear screaming," stated Garcia.
She said she knew people were injured.
Garcia continued, "We seen the ambulance taking off trying to revive people like really fast."
But she didn't realize just how violent it ended up being. The MCSO said three men were eating tacos near the truck around 8pm. Officials said two men approached them, and the two groups got into a verbal, then physical altercation.
Deputy Daryl Allen said, "And at some point during the physical altercation, people pulled out guns and started shooting each other."
Allen said when officers arrived, they found one man dead. The other two victims were taken to the hospital, and one survived. Witnesses tell us all of the victims are from the small community. Allen said the two groups were rival gangs and all of the individuals were believed to have been armed. The suspects were seen on surveillance video running into the fields, and they are still on the run.
"The Sheriff's Office is taking a very proactive approach to gang violence at this point. Just a week ago, we did gang sweeps down in the Planada/Le Grande area, collected several guns, and had about 12 arrests from that area," ended Allen.
If you have any information on the case, you are urged to contact the Merced County Sheriff's Office immediately.