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Three charged with Delhi shooting
Drive-by left man quadriplegic
Ruben Anthony Arce



The investigation into a drive-by shooting in Delhi that left a 29-year-old man paralyzed culminated with the arrest of three suspected gang members Friday, the Merced County sheriff’s Department reported.

The arrests came more than a month after the April 30 shooting that left Stanislaus County resident Ruben Lugo a quadriplegic.

Around 12:30 p.m. April 30 the Merced County Sheriff’s Department received several 911 calls reporting shots fired in the 15000 block of August Avenue in Delhi. The first deputies to arrive at the scene found Lugo on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds.

Lugo “was shot several times in the back and left for dead in the front yard area of his family’s home,” said sheriff spokesman Deputy Delray Shelton.

Lugo was airlifted to a Modesto hospital.

The sheriff’s department initially reported difficulty investigating the drive-by shooting because Lugo refused to give even a cursory description of the suspects. However, subsequent information detectives gathered led them to identify Ruben Gabriol Barrera, 25, of Winton, Ruben Anthony Arce, 18, of Hilmar and Diego Villasenor, 26, of Delhi as the prime suspects in the attempted homicide.

On Friday detectives served five search warrants in relation to the case at locations in Turlock, Hilmar, Winton, Delhi and in San Joaquin County. All three suspects were taken into custody during the various searches, Shelton said.

All three suspects were charged with attempted murder, conspiracy and participating a criminal street gang. They remain in custody at the Merced County Jail. Barrera is being held on a bail of more than $1 million. Arce and Villasenor are being held on bails of $750,000 each.