Two gang members were arrested on June 16th at the Savemart warehouse near the Mission Avenue Interchange by Merced police officers after fleeing from a shooting. 24-year-old Fernando Figueroa and a 17-year-old accomplice were arrested for the attempted murder of 27-year-old Caesar Villafan and participation in a criminal street gang.
Two officers were patrolling the south Merced area when they heard several shots fired and saw a car subsequently speed out of an alleyway at the 300 block of 11th Street and Martin Luther King. The two officers were joined by Merced PD reinforcements as they pursued the suspects southbound on Highway 99. The suspects drove at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour and narrowly missed striking another motorist before crashing head on into a guard rail at the Mission Avenue Interchange. Afterwards, the two suspects fled the vehicle on foot before being arrested at the Savemart warehouse a quarter of a mile away.
Upon searching the vehicle, officers found a loaded handgun that matched the same caliber of shell casings left at the scene of the shooting. Figueroa and the accomplice were both booked at Merced County Jail. In addition to attempted murder and participation in a criminal street gang, Figueroa was charged with felony evading. Villafan was transported to a Modesto hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening gunshot wounds. The Merced PD has not yet confirmed the motive for the attempted murder of Villafan and the investigation is still ongoing, according to Tom Trindad of the Merced PD.
Anyone with information on this crime is asked to please contact the Merced Police Department Detectives Division at 209-385-4702 or the Tip-line at 209-385-4725. Citizens can text a tip to TIP411 (847411) using “comvip” as the first word in the text message.
Merced Sun Star: Shooting Reported in W. 11th Street Alley