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Delhi homicide victim identified
Suspect has prior conviction for manslaughter
juan gonzalez
Juan Carlos Gonzalez

The Delhi man arrested earlier this week for a fatal shooting had been recently released from state prison for manslaughter conviction.

The shooting on March 5 in Delhi resulted in the death of Abram Hernandez, 23, according to the Merced County Sheriff’s Department.

The same shooting left an unidentified woman hospitalized with a gunshot wound. The injury was not considered life-threatening, said sheriff spokesperson Sgt. Delray Shelton.

The sheriff’s department made an arrest shortly after the shooting, taking Juan Carlos Gonzalez, 25, of Delhi into custody. He has been charged with murder and attempted murder.

The sheriff’s department was called to the 15000 block of Shell Street in Delhi around 11 p.m. March 5 for a report of a shooting. At the scene the deputies found Hernandez and the woman both suffering from gunshot wounds. Hernandez was taken by air ambulance to a Modesto hospital, where he died from his injuries. The woman was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

The sheriff’s SWAT team arrested Gonzalez at a residence in the 6800 block of Hinton Avenue.

The sheriff’s department has not released many details about the shooting or a possible motive, except to say that there was some type of quarrel before the shooting and that it appeared to be gang related.

Gonzalez was released from prison in 2015 for a 2013 conviction of voluntary manslaughter for the death of 17-year-old Saul Lopez in 2009. Lopez, a Delhi resident, was shot while at a party in the 22000 block of Bloss Road in Hilmar.

Gonzalez, who was arrested two days after the shooting, told investigators the gun belonged to Lopez and that it accidentally went off while Gonzalez was holding it. Gonzalez said he and Lopez were friends and went to the party together.

The bullet from the .22 caliber revolver struck Lopez in the abdomen.

There were several witnesses to the shooting, some of whom recalled Gonzalez stating he was sorry, according to Merced County Superior Court records.

None of the people at the party attempted to get Lopez medical aid. Instead he was dropped off at the intersection of American and Lander avenues, near the McDonald’s. He was found stumbling and bleeding at the intersection by a cousin and friend that he had called for help.

The Merced County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene to find Lopez lying in the car. He was air-lifted to Doctors Medical Center, where he later died from his injury.

Gonzalez, a documented gang member, entered a no contest plea to a charge of voluntary manslaughter with an enhancement for using a firearm. He was sentenced to seven years in state prison.

Gonzalez is scheduled to be arraigned today in Merced County Superior Court. He is being held at the Merced County Jail with no bail.