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Clothing color motive for gang shooting
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A Ballico man suffered a gunshot wound to the leg in a drive-by shooting.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Department believes the man’s red shorts marked him as a target in the suspected gang-related shooting.

The victim, a 21-year-old man, does not have any gang affiliations, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie.

The shooting was reported around 1 p.m. Saturday.

The victim was riding his bicycle to a store to buy some beer for the upcoming football game when he was shot, MacKenzie said.

The 21-year-old was in the 11000 block of Santa Fe Road when a blue vehicle with three Latino men inside drove by and fired at him with a shotgun.

The victim was struck in the lower part of his leg. The suspects fled the area.

Despite his injury, the victim was able to get to a nearby residence and obtain help, MacKenzie said. He was transported to a Modesto hospital and is expected to recover from his injury.

The victim was wearing red shorts at the time of the shooting. Red is a color used by the Norteno criminal street gang, while their rivals, the Sureno criminal street gang, are associated with blue.

The sheriff’s department is asking anyone with information about the shooting to call 385-7472.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.