Deputies investigate 3 murders that happened within 3 days in Merced County
MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Merced county deputies are investigating three murders in just 72 hours. The first victim was shot Thursday in Planada and taken off life support on Friday. The other two were gunned down in Delhi Saturday night.
The sheriff says one of the murders was gang-related, and the double homicide happened because of drugs. Detectives say a driver heading to work spotted a truck in the middle of both lanes with the brake lights on and thought the people inside might need help.
"This citizen gets out and finds two persons have been shot and killed in this pickup," Merced County Mark Pazin said.
Sheriff Pazin said it appears the victims were ambushed by someone who wanted to send a message.
"The driver still had his foot on the parking brake, the vehicle was in reverse, and there was shattered glass on both the driver's side and the rear portion of this pickup," Pazin said.
Detectives later discovered the men lived at a home nearby where they found evidence of marijuana being grown, sold, and distributed. Randy Ramos works at a ranch close to the crime scene and says he's drug activity is not unusual in this area, but a double murder is.
"When you get a shooting like this, it just makes your back crawl a little and unnerves you," Delhi said.
The violence in Delhi came just days after another man was killed on this street in Planada. Authorities say 24-year-old Eric Guzman was shot in the head Thursday night and declared brain dead at a Modesto hospital on Friday. They do not believe the two cases are related.
"We believe it was gang related on this incident, and as usual, no one saw nothing, no one has come forward to help us," Pazin said.
Deputies are still searching for suspects in both of these crimes. The coroner's office is now working with the Mexican consulate to confirm the identities of the double homicide victims. Both men were in their 20's may be related and lived in the area for a few months.
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