Merced police are investigating the early Monday morning fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy near West 20th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
Police responded to the scene after receiving a call of shots fired around 12:30 a.m. Officers found the teenager at the scene and he was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to Sgt. Scott Skinner.
Family members identified the victim as Donovan Webster.
Skinner said the investigation is in its early stages and detectives are speaking to residents of the neighborhood and family members. Police said the boy was either walking to a nearby residence, or walking back to his home when the shooting happened.
Redonda Evans, the victim’s mother, shed tears and exchanged hugs with friends and family members Monday morning outside her home, not far from the corner where Webster was fatally shot.
Family members said Webster had been staying at a group home in Madera, and showed up unexpectedly at his parents’ home around midnight. Webster left his parents’ home to visit his brother at a nearby friend’s home. He was on his way back from that residence when gunshots rang out. Evans and her family heard the gunshots, went outside and saw Webster lying on the ground with gunshot wounds. Evans said her son died in her arms.
Family members said they have no idea who killed Webster. Evans acknowledged her son had experienced a “rough couple of years,” but said he had made resolutions to change his life for the better.
Webster’s parents said he might have turned up at their residence because he was homesick. “Donovan was a beautiful person. He was the type of person that highlighted the room,” Evans said of her son. “He had high goals, he was athletic. He was a loving person, very, very friendly; he touched a lot of people’s hearts.”
Michael Evans Sr., the victim’s father, said Webster hadn’t been in Merced for three months, and was in the city for about 30 minutes early Monday morning before he was shot.
“He was in a group home (in Madera) because he was easily influenced here in Merced and probation along with the courts deemed it necessary for them to take him out of this environment and put him in an environment that’s suitable, where they can get to him, where he can get on track,” Evans Sr. said.
Evans Sr. said he hugged his son after the boy turned up at his home early Monday. He had no idea it would be the last time he would do so. “(It’s) very hard because we’ve never buried our children,” Evans Sr. said. “I’ve always told my family, in my family my kids bury me, I don’t bury them.”
A description of the shooter is not available. A vehicle was seen leaving the area at the time of the shooting but it’s unknown if it was involved in the shooting.
The motive has not been determined, and police said it’s unknown if the shooting is gang-related.
Police are asking anyone with information to call Detective Joe Deliman at (209) 385-4731 or Detective Paul Johnson at (209) 385-7742 or the department’s automated tip line at (209) 385-4725. Individuals can send information via anonymous text message to the Police Department by dialing “TIP411” (847411) and including the word “ComVIP” as the “keyword” in the text message.
Sun-Star City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.