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Gunshot victim was 16-year-old
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A park bench of burned down candles and an empty bottle of cognac are reminders of a candle light vigil held Monday night at the scene of the murder of a 17-year-old Manteca resident Marcos Antonio Garcia who was a former student at East Union High School. Facebook posts show some 30 youth gathered around the picnic table at about 10:30 Monday night. - photo by GLENN KAHL

It was the second time in two weeks that somebody fired a gun into a park next to a Manteca elementary school.

And while the shooting at Doxey Park just before 1 a.m. on Labor Day was nowhere near the time that students or faculty would be on campus, it was the first this year that ended with one of the victims bound not for the hospital, but the morgue.

Marcos Antonio Garcia, 16, was killed after a confrontation alongside Northgate Drive ended in gunfire. Two young men were shot, and when officers arrived they discovered that the 19-year-old African American male that had also been shot had scurried away from the park, while Garcia crawled up alongside a concrete picnic bench.

Witnesses reported seeing at least a pair of cars in the area, but the number of gunshots fired varied.

One woman, who was standing in her backyard at the time of the shooting and asked not to be named, said that she heard at least seven gunshots – a succession that sounded like the first two were fired before a pause and then the rest were fired in a cluster.

Marcos Herrera says that he plays soccer in that park with his daughters, and that while things like this happen in every community, to have it happen where he takes his kids is unnerving.

“You hear about it and read about it in other parks and places, but this is branching out to where we take our families,” he said. “They had that shooting over at Veritas on a Saturday afternoon. What if that was here and my daughter was in the park?

“You know these things happen, you just never know that they’re going to happen around you.”

The Manteca Police Department is still investigation the shooting and is releasing little information at the time. According to Manteca Police spokeswoman Jodie Estarziau, the shooting does not appear to be a random event.

Currently, Estarzaiu said, detectives aren’t ready to release any information about possible suspects as they’re currently following up on a variety of leads. Additional information, like how many shots were fired or what type of weapon was used in the shooting, was not immediately available.

At least two other shootings have taken place in Manteca neighborhoods in the last month. On Aug. 8 officers responded to a shooting on Jasmine Hollow and arrived to find spent shell casings in the street and multiple rounds that had entered a home that appeared to be targeted. That shooting was being followed up by gang investigators. And 10 days after that a dispute next to Antigua Park turned violent when shots were fired in the direction of a home near the school. The incident took place on a Saturday, so no students were present. The park is popular with soccer players and families that live on the south side of the 120 Bypass looking to escape the crowds up the street at Woodward Park.

Detectives are currently following up leads in each of the cases, but no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information about the Doxey Park Shooting or any of the others that have taken place may contact the South County Crime Stoppers at 209.823.4636. Tips are anonymous, and anybody providing information leading to an arrest may eligible for a reward up to $1,000. Information may also be provided to detective Bill Walmer at 209.456.8222.