April 5, 2013

Merced mom speaks out about shooting death of son

Another heartbroken mother broke her silence on Thursday about the Atwater-area shooting that ended her 19-year-old son's life on Saturday.

MERCED — Another heartbroken mother broke her silence on Thursday about the Atwater-area shooting that ended her 19-year-old son's life on Saturday.

"I hope the (killer) is caught as soon as possible, because we need justice for our families," said Diane Reis, mother of Matthew Fisher. "We need closure."

A Merced resident, Reis last spoke to her son about 8 p.m. on Saturday. Matthew Fisher, along with his older brother Marcus, went to a party near 9200 Westside Blvd.

"He said he would be back later," Reis said.

Matthew Fisher never returned home that night.

Instead, Reis got a knock on the door at 3:30 Sunday morning from Merced County sheriff's detectives.

"They said a couple guys came in and just starting shooting randomly," Reis said. "They said that he did not survive."

Matthew Fisher was one of three people killed. The others are Samantha Parreira, 16, and Bernabed Hernandez-Canela, 18.

Authorities said Saturday's shooting was gang-related, although it's unclear whether the victims had any connections with gangs. They said the shooting happened about 11 p.m., after a group of people approached a rival gang at a party near a residence. Multiple shots rang out after a confrontation.

"I just started crying, and we had to go outside and get his older brother, who was in the detective's SUV," Reis said.

Reis said her son died in his brother's arms at the scene. "He passed away far too young and didn't deserve to leave this way," she said through tears.

Marcus Fisher, 21, is devastated at the loss of his brother and has not spoken about what happened that night, Reis said. "He's not doing good," she said. "He was there, and they had to pry Marcus away from him."

Reis said her son was not involved in gangs but may have known others who were. Although Reis wasn't certain of all of her son's friends or acquaintances, she said Matthew could have been labeled as guilty by association.

"Matthew was not in a gang. I just want to clear his name," Reis said. "He wasn't raised that way, and I don't believe he was targeted. But he was at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Although Reis believes the shooting could have been prevented, she isn't sure if authorities can stop people from getting guns.

"I don't think they could ever take the guns away," she said. "People could always get guns off the street. It's very easy to get guns, as long as you know the right people."

Matthew's younger brother, Maurice Fisher, 16, said he'll remember him for his smile and big heart.

"He was a good-hearted person," he said. "I just couldn't believe it."

Matthew Fisher's family said the Yosemite High graduate loved music, video games and spending time with his family. He attended Merced College and looked forward to deciding what career to pursue.

"I don't believe I'll ever get over this," Reis said. "I don't think time will heal any of it."

Detectives are asking anyone with information about the homicides to call (209) 385-7472. Tips are kept confidential and you can remain anonymous.

Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at(209) 385-2477 or

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