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Drive-by gunman shoots his passenger

May be gang-related; neighbors ran for cover

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Drive-by gunman shoots his passenger

The shooting occurred on Muir Court near El Portal Avenue.


POSTED June 27, 2012 1:15 a.m.

A passenger in a 1990s Honda conducting a drive-by shooting on Muir Court Tuesday afternoon wasn’t the intended victim but he’s the one that got shot.

A series of gunshot blasts startled the quiet neighborhood northeast of the Union Road and Wawona Street intersection as children were playing outside, a postal carrier was making his rounds and a resident was conducting a garage sale.

Manteca Police watch commander Sgt. Lewis Clark said it was unclear how the victim was injured on the right side of his body that led to someone dropping him off at Doctors Hospital of Manteca’s emergency room about 2 p.m. That’s some 10 minutes after five shotgun blasts shocked neighbors who were in their respective front yards near the intersection of Muir Court and El Portal Avenue.

The man was transported by ambulance to Manteca’s Kaiser Hospital where he was being treated Tuesday night in what police described as a shooting with possible gang connections.

Sgt. Clark said the shooting apparently focused on a house in the 1100 block of Muir Court just west of El Portal Avenue.  He noted that a 20-year-old grandson of the residents of the home had been in the front yard when he saw a Honda drive by thinking he might be in danger of being shot.  He went inside and told everyone in the home to get down, Clark said.

After a period of time passed he went back outside and saw the car parked at the turn-around near the end of the court as it began driving toward him.  He said he heard five shots as he ran back into the house.  Neither he nor anyone in the house was hit by the gunfire, Clark said.

Police did not speculate if the victim could have been hit by ricocheting buck shots when the weapon was fired through the car’s rear side window.

Frightened residents,  who were standing out on their lawns,  witnessed the incident seeing two men drive out of Muir Court after the initial shooting, and across El Portal Avenue and into Tenaya Court to the east at a high rate of speed.  When the pair drove into the second court, they reportedly fired off two more rounds in what was believed to have been an attempt to scare off the witnesses from identifying them.

One senior citizen was holding a garage sale on the corner of El Portal and a postal carrier was handing a neighbor his mail at his front door, three houses down from the shooting scene.  One woman and her son told of running into the house and hitting the floor in prone positions.

A neighbor at the end of the lengthy court said he saw the two get to the dead end where the gunmen realized they had to turn around and head back toward El Portal or they would be trapped.  Other residents said the car was fleeing at a high rate of speed and turned north onto El Portal.

The car was described as being dark blue or green with peeling paint.  All the residents agreed that what they heard were five loud booms, reports that would only come from a shotgun.  One said he saw BBs from a shotgun load as officers were seen picking up shell wadding from the middle of the street on Muir Court.

Initially officers didn’t think they had a victim and they couldn’t find holes in the front of the nearby houses, until they said someone dropped off a male victim at an area hospital emergency room with shotgun wounds.

Sgt. Clark said the early information he had was that the victim’s wound was not life threatening.

Among the six witnesses to the shootings, one man identified the driver as a Hispanic male and the passenger a tall thin Caucasian the best he could tell seeing him through the car window as they sped by his home.  The men were believed to have been in their 20s.

Yellow crime tape was stretched across Muir Court including the front yard and the home where the first three shots were believed to have been targeted.

There was no report as to the condition of the victim or his age at press time.  The investigation by Manteca Police detectives is continuing into the possibility that the incident was gang related. 

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