Merced police are battling a dramatic uptick of shootings in the city.
Thursday night two people were shot in an attempted homicide. It happened around 9:40 p.m. on the 2500 block of Glen Ave near Santa Fe.
The suspect remains on the loose.
“I walked out to the sidewalk, looked down and saw the yellow tape and I knew, it’s all bad,” Jeff Garcia who lives down the street said.
He said he’s lived in the same area most of his life and it used to be very safe, but it’s changed within just the past few months.
“This guy just rolled up and it was obviously a targeted shooting. It wasn’t a random,” Lt. Jay Struble of the Merced Police Department said.
Struble said a man was returning home to his apartment when a Hispanic male with a red bandanna walked up and opened fire.
“It was in excess of 15 rounds fired last night,” Struble said.
Police said the bullets struck the 47-year-old victim as well as a 22-year-old female. Both were expect to survive.
Struble said these crimes are now happening several times a week. He said it’s expected in the summer months, but this year has been particularly bad. The department has already processed twice the number of crime scenes as last year and there are still 5 months left of 2019.
“So far this year our crime scene team has responded to and processed 36 crime scenes. Last year for the entire year they processed 18,” he said.
The uptick in crime scenes are stretching resources thin. Since early June Struble estimates two to three shootings weekly.
Stuble said the department is now shifting resources. The Gang Violence Suppression Unit and Gang Task Force are moving to nights when they’re seeing the most action, which are typically Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays he said.
But he said they also need the community on this one.
“We know people see what happens hear what happens, when our officers get there nobody saw anything. This takes the community and police department working together as one team,” he said.
Officers said an increase in gang activity may be to blame and laws weakening penalties for criminals also play a big part.
Garcia agreed, and said he’ll leave if things continue like this.
“What kept me from doing wrong when I was little? Consequences. And there just doesn’t seem to be consequences anymore,” he said.
The public can report information to the Merced Police Department’s Tipster Line at (209) 385-4725 or anonymously by text messages to TIP411 (847411) and including the word “Comvip” as the “keyword” in the text message.