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Ex-MHS student is killed in shooting

Manteca Police detectives are still investigating a shooting on Sunday at Southside Park that left one man dead and another hospitalized. 

Brandon Escobar, 19, was identified on social media as the victim that was transported to a local hospital on Sunday before being pronounced dead. A former Manteca High School student who also attended One Charter, Escobar was hit with an undisclosed number of bullets after an incident at a park that historically has been tied to gang activity. A second man, who was reported by police to be 30-years-old, was also injured in the shooting but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. 

No information about potential suspects or what may have caused the incident that led to the shooting has yet been released by Manteca Police investigators, who were working in the area into the evening on Sunday night.

The park, which is bordered by Oregon Street and Sequoia and Park Avenues, in past years has been a hotbed of gang activity and the focal point of the Manteca Police Department’s efforts to cut down on escalating gang violence. A number of shootings and stabbings in past years have taken place inside of the park as tensions between local gangs reach a flash point, and gang officers historically have been busiest during the hot summer months when the long hot days have proven to escalate tensions. 

According to one neighborhood resident, who asked not to be named out of fear of reprisal, the shooting on Sunday harkens back to darker times for the neighborhood when most homeowners lived in fear. Given the historical track record of how these incidents usually play out, the resident said, retaliation is something that people are already expecting – hoping that Manteca Police are able to head-off the tension before it reaches a breaking point. 

Sunday’s shooting was the second in Manteca over the weekend after a Stockton woman was involved in a head-on collision on Airport Way Friday night after her vehicle was shot at by an ex-boyfriend that was chasing after her. The incident closed Airport Way for a number of hours while police investigated the incident which ultimately led to Cornelius Lee Martin’s arrest on Saturday afternoon. 

A GoFundMe account set-up in Escobar’s name had raised more than $3,000 of the $4,000 it was asking for in the first 13 hours that it had been accepting donations. The page, which doesn’t detail what specifically happened to the young man, was full of comments from friend and family member wishing condolences to those who knew the young man, and those who are affected by the tragic incident. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.