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Arrests made in Dos Palos double homicide

POSTED January 16, 2010 12:33 a.m.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Department made three arrests in the double homicide that occurred on Jan. 5 in Dos Palos.
Additionally, detectives have arrested one other person whose involvement in the double fatal shooting is still under investigation, sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie said.
The two victims of the double homicide — Juan Avalos, 21, and Lionel Medina, 16 — were both found shot to death in a detached garage at a residence in the 19000 block of Highway 33. Family members said they heard shots around 1 a.m. and when the two didn’t respond to their calls, they went looking for them, which led to the discovery of the victims in the garage.
Both had died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the sheriff’s department.
On Tuesday morning the Merced Sheriff’s Major Crime division served three search warrants in the Dos Palos area in connection with the double homicide, MacKenzie said.
The warrants were served at homes in the 1900 block of Golden Gate, the 21000 block of Highway 33, and the 7000 block of Carmelia Avenue.
Two suspects were taken into custody following the search of the residences — Jose Vidal German, 20, and Bryan Bridgeford, 20. The third suspect, a 17-year-old boy was already in custody at juvenile hall for a violation of probation and felony evading law enforcement, MacKenzie said.
All three were booked on double homicide charges with gang enhancements, MacKenzie said.
The fourth person arrested was a 16-year-old boy who was taken into custody Thursday afternoon in the 900 block of Golden Gate. He was booked for a violation of probation. Detectives are still investigating his possible involvement in the double homicide, MacKenzie said.
Detectives recovered one gun during the searches and suspect it is one of the murder weapons, MacKenzie said.
Detectives believe the shooting was the result of an ongoing rival gang conflict, MacKenzie said.

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