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Young boy shot in drive-by

POSTED June 18, 2010 6:45 p.m.

A 12-year-old boy is in stable condition after he was shot in the back during a drive-by that detectives believe was a case of mistaken identity.

The shooting transpired around 1:15 a.m. Tuesday in the 3900 block of Celeste Avenue in Merced.

According to the Merced County Sheriff’s Department, the boy was among a group of 12 and 13 year olds who were playing outside of a home. The kids told investigators they noticed a green four-door car with three men inside drive by very slowly. Witnesses reported hearing the suspects yelling some gang slurs so the group of kids went inside the house.

A few minutes later the car turned around at the dead end of the street and drove back by the house, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie. One of the suspects opened fire into the residence with a large caliber handgun and struck the 12-year-old boy in the lower back.

The suspects then took off on Kibby Road in an unknown direction, MacKenzie said. The boy was transported to a Modesto area hospital where he is listed in stable condition. The detectives are working on the assumption that the suspects believed the kids were rival gang members, but there is no indication that the kids belonged to any gang and it may have been a case of mistaken identity, MacKenzie said.

The only description of the suspects is two were Hispanic and one was Caucasian. The shooter was wearing a black and white striped shirt. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merced Sheriff’s Department at 385-7472.

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