Merced shooting case declared homicide after victim dies from injuries at hospital

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Merced police say a Nov. 16 shooting has been declared a homicide after the victim died recently at an area hospital.

According to Lt. Emily Foster, Jesus Sotelo, 44, of Merced, died at a Modesto hospital on Dec. 1.

Last month, police responded to the 200 block of South T St., just east of Merced Regional Airport, at 8:42 p.m. for a report of shots fired. Officers arrived and located Sotelo suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body.

According to Foster, based on the investigation it appears Sotelo opened the door to his residence when he was struck by the gunfire. Police said it is unknown if he was expecting any visitors. “Based on our investigation, he returned fire at the suspects or suspect,” Foster said.

Police said no additional gunshot victims were located at area hospitals following the shooting and it is unknown if anyone was struck by the return fire.

Foster said the motive for the shooting is unknown, but it is suspected to be either narcotics related, gang related or possibly both. It is unknown how many suspects were involved, according to police.

Police said there were initially believed to have been multiple witnesses at the scene.

All possible witnesses including the victim were uncooperative with the investigation, police said. Since the shooting, investigators have attempted to locate video surveillance from the area and identify additional witnesses.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Lupian at 209-388-7844. Some crimes can be reported through the Merced Police Department website and anonymous tips can be submitted by calling 209-385-4725.

Anonymous tips can also be submitted to law enforcement through the Merced Area Crime Stoppers website.

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