New Year’s homicide was gang-related, Merced police say

rparsons@mercedsunstar.comJanuary 2, 2014 

A Merced man with known gang ties was chased down and shot New Year’s Day, possibly by members of a Norteño criminal street gang, Merced police said Thursday.

According to reports, the victim of the apparent gang shooting was 21-year-old Marcus Fisher. He was found dead some time after 9:30 a.m. in the backyard of a home in the 1300 block of Derby Drive, police said.

It was not clear why the victim’s identity was not released Thursday by the Merced County Coroner’s Office.

Fisher’s death marked the first homicide of the year in Merced County.

Merced police confirmed that Fisher’s younger brother, Matthew, was shot and killed at another party last year. Matthew Fisher, 19, was one of three people shot to death in April 2013 near the 9200 block of Westside Boulevard, outside Atwater, according to Merced Sun-Star archives.

“That’s a county case and I don’t have too many details about it,” Capt. Tom Trindad told the Sun-Star.

Investigators said that case may also have been gang-related, though his family adamantly denied Matthew Fisher was involved in gangs. The family could not be reached for comment Thursday.

No arrests have been made in either case.

Marcus Fisher had known ties to a Blood criminal street gang, police confirmed.

Investigators believe unknown Hispanic male Norteño gang members “specifically targeted” the victim, police said in a news release.

Citing a need to protect their investigation, police declined to comment on the number of times Fisher was shot.

Gang members confronted Fisher at a New Year’s Eve party on Derby Drive and apparently chased several people, including Fisher, outside and onto the street, police said.

“The victim ran into the backyard where he was shot,” police said in the statement.

At least one area resident said three rounds were fired into his home, but nobody was injured. Another resident said at least one man burst into her home, apparently trying to hide during the melee. Police said they received numerous reports of people running though yards in the neighborhood.

Police responded just before midnight Tuesday to investigate reports of numerous gunshots fired, but were directed to the party house.

“Unfortunately we did not have any contact with the victim before he was found in the morning,” Trindad said. “It was not until later that police learned the victim and his friends had run into the backyard of the other residence.”

Fisher was found dead early Wednesday in the backyard of a home north of the location of the party. It remains unclear exactly how long he’d been dead when his body was found.

The county’s holiday schedule may delay an autopsy report from the Merced County Coroner’s Office, police said.

Investigators said many witnesses have been cooperative, but said they are still looking for others to come forward and identify the shooter or shooters. Police said they believe the case could be solved with a little more cooperation from the public.

“The Police Department encourages individuals to come forward with information that can help bring justice for the victim and his family,” officers said in the statement.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Chris Russell at (209) 385-4707, or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at (209) 385-4725. The public can send information via anonymous text messages to the Police Department by dialing “TIP411” (847411) and including the word “ComVIP” as the “keyword” in the text message.

Staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at rparsons@mercedsunstar.com or (209) 385-2482.

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