Two separate shootings kept Oakdale Police busy early Thursday morning, Aug. 2, shortly after midnight.
The first incident occurred around 12:19 a.m. when police received several 911 calls reporting a shooting outside a house in the 1500 block of East D Street. When officers arrived they learned a party was in progress and an uninvited guest fired shots from a handgun when told to leave. The shooter fled the scene in a dark grey Scion.
During the investigation, the shooter was identified by party goers as Alex Merrill, 20, of Oakdale.
According to Oakdale Police Gang Detective Max Messina, Merrill is a documented Norteno gang member and was accompanied by four to six other subjects inside the party.
Messina added that witnesses reported that when Merrill was told to leave he got confrontational with the party host and flashed the gun several times.
“They basically crashed the party and were not invited,” said Messina about Merrill and his associates. “They were told to leave and that’s when the shooting happened.”
While police were investigating the incident, a second shooting was reported at the rear of the Raley’s Shopping Center near North Maag Avenue. Three juveniles at that location reported that an unknown subject in a grey vehicle fired approximately three shots in their direction and drove from the area.
“There was no conversation between them at all,” said Detective Brian Shimmell. “The car just drove up and the guy fired off shots.”
Officers later learned that the shootings were related. A female subject approached officers and reported she had been driving the grey Scion with Merrill and fled the car when he shot at the three juveniles.
Investigating officers learned the female left her cell phone in the vehicle and Merrill was using the phone to make calls. A GPS tracking of the cell phone revealed that it was in the area of Birdwell Street and available officers responded to the location.
Sergeant Joseph Carrillo noticed the Scion on Dodge Avenue and attempted to pull over the vehicle. The Scion fled the area and crashed into a triplex in the 300 block of Birdwell Street. The driver of the Scion, believed to be Merrill, fled the scene on foot.
Police called in sheriff’s department units to assist with the search but were not successful in finding Merrill.
Police at this time don’t know if Merrill was shooting at anyone in particular or the direction of some of the shots that night. No one was struck or injured at either of the shooting locations.
These were the fourth and fifth shooting incidents in Oakdale for 2012.
In March there was a drive-by shooting at 20 N. Oak St. In May another drive-by shooting occurred where a house in the 100 block of South Sixth Avenue was sprayed with bullets. Last month a man was shot and stabbed behind the Oakdale Museum. Police state all of the shootings – as well as the ones on Aug. 2 – have been determined to be gang related.
Oakdale Police are in the process of obtaining an arrest warrant for Merrill. They advise that he is to be considered armed and dangerous and to immediately notify law enforcement if he is seen.