A 20-year-old man was hospitalized Friday after being shot in the back while walking along a bike path, Merced police reported.
One suspect is in custody and the victim is expected to survive.
The shooting was reported around 8:30 p.m. south of the 3300 block of San Ramon Court, not far from the intersection of R Street and Buena Vista Drive, according to Merced police. Officers found the victim lying on the ground, with a gunshot to his lower back.
The victim, who was conscious and able to talk with police, said he and two friends were walking eastbound on the path. The victim reported hearing what he thought were firecrackers behind him and felt a stinging sensation on his back. He then discovered he'd been shot, according to Lt. Bimley West.
The victim was flown to a local hospital, while police searched the area for suspects. The suspect, 18-year-old Demetrius Thomas, was arrested at a Loughborough area residence on Santa Rosa Court, a short distance from where the shooting was reported.
Detective Joe Deliman said the attack may have been related to a separate shooting incident where no one was injured. Still, Deliman said the victim doesn't appear to have gang ties and seems to have been at "the wrong place, at the wrong time."
Thomas was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder with gang enhancements, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition by a felon and conspiracy to commit a crime.
He's being held in lieu of $570,000 bail.
The investigation into the shooting remains open and police said there may be additional suspects.
Detectives are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Detective Scott Skinner at (209) 385-4702 or the department's automated tip line at (209) 385-4725. Calls are kept confidential and you can remain anonymous.
Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.