Gunfire erupted in Empire on Friday morning, injuring one man.
Deputies were investigating by early afternoon, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said. Initial reports indicate the incident is gang-related.
According to Christianson, gunfire broke out about 11:30 a.m. between two cars, described as a white sports utility vehicle and a dark blue Chrysler PT Cruiser at Santa Fe and Yosemite avenues.
The original report came from people who heard the gunshots but said they didn’t see anything. Investigators have tracked down witnesses, but they have not been cooperative, Christianson said.
As deputies responded, conducting a traffic stop on one PT Cruiser, they got a report of another PT Cruiser arriving at Memorial Medical Center with a man suffering a gunshot wound.
Christianson said the man was shot in the back and his injuries were not considered life-threatening.
He said deputies were at the hospital, talking with the man’s girlfriend, who drove him there. Other deputies are out looking for evidence, but had not yet located the crime scene or the white SUV.
“This is a situation still very much in play,” Christianson said.
Investigators are gathering evidence from the PT Cruiser, which has a shot-out windshield and bullet holes in the body. Detectives had not determined if the occupants of the PT Cruiser fired back.
Investigators are looking at surveillance cameras of businesses in the area to see if any of them captured the incident.
“We’re working on a couple of leads,” Christianson said. He noted that the shooting took place in broad daylight in a busy intersection.
“Gang members don’t have jobs,” he said.