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Rival gang members shot in Woodlake

Rival gang members shot in Woodlake

Two Woodlake men are in critical condition following a gang related shooting on Saturday.

The shooting happened just after midnight on Feb. 2 in an alleyway behind Miller Brown (City) Park in Woodlake. Woodlake Police officers were dispatched to the 300 block of E. Antelope St. at about 12:30 a.m. for a gunshot victim. Upon arrival, officers found Richard Zepeda, 21, of Woodlake who had been shot in the chest. While there, officers noticed someone walking in a nearby alleyway. Officers attempted to contact the passerby, later identified as 18-year-old Martin Saldana, who also had been shot in the chest.

Both men were immediately treated by paramedics and transported to nearby hospitals for their injuries where they are listed in critical condition as of press time. Woodlake Police Chief Mike Marquez said investigators are unsure if the victims knew each other but did say they were known members of rival gangs.

Both victims appeared to be related to the same incident that originally occurred in a backyard along the alleyway. Police investigators stated a group of individuals were gathered in a backyard in the 300 block of E. Antelope when an unknown male subject approached and fired several shots at the group. One of the shots struck Zepeda in the upper torso. Marquez said it is unclear how Saldana sustained his injuries. No suspect descriptions were able to be provided. No weapons were recovered at the scene.

“This does appear to be a gang-related incident at this time,” Marquez said.

Surrounding agencies; California Highway Patrol, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Exeter Police Department and Farmersville Police Department assisted this agency with this incident. Tulare County Sheriff’s Forensic Investigations Unit was called in to process the crime scene.

Woodlake Police Department is currently investigating this case and is asking anyone with information to call 559-564-3325 or you can anonymously send an email to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Tip-line tcso@tipnow.com or call (559) 725-4194.

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