The 24-year-old received multiple gunshot wounds to the torso at about 12:45 p.m. at 945 Del Monte Ave.He was pronounced dead a short time after police officers arrived at the scene. Officials are currently looking for the shooter who fled on Del Monte Avenue to an apartment complex on N. Sandborn Road.There is no word at this time if the shooting was gang-related and dozens of people who gathered around the crime scene gave little information to police about the gunman or gunmen, officials said.
The victim is the latest in a string of homicides -- nine in all -- to hit Salinas, a city of about 140,000.Less than 24 hours earlier, two teenagers were shot dead in the parking lot of 918 Acosta Plaza at about 8 p.m.Carlos Mejia, 17, and Francisco Alfaro, 16, were approached by two men who pulled out handguns and fired multiple gunshots, authorities said.Police Chief Dan Ortega said he isn't sure if Friday's shooting was in retaliation the shootings of Mejia and Alfaro.The chief did say, however, that the streets of Salinas would be heavily protected Friday evening and into the weekend."The gang task force is in town tonight (Friday) and we will still have operation Cal Grip with the CHP going on. So we're going to have the streets saturated tonight and this weekend," Ortega said.Police are investigating Thursday evenings shooting as gang-related, but the mother one of the teenagers gunned down said her son wasn't involved with gangs.Carlos Mejia was a bass player in the school band for years and was going to graduate from Everett Alvarez High School, his family said."There is nothing we can do. We were trying as hard as we can, he was always refusing, he was never trying to get in that (gangs). I don't know what to say," said Mejia's mother, Marta.Mejia's dad took him and his sister to school every day to watch his activity, and the family said Carlos refused gang life despite the pressures.Mejia's sister told KSBW Action News 8 she has no idea why anyone would go after her brother."They're going to regret what they did to him, because he didn't do anything bad," Vanessa Mejia said. "I don't know why they went after him if he never did anything to them, and I hope they get what they deserve for doing that to my brother."The rash of homicides comes just one day after Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue attended a summit in Santa Rosa along with officials from 12 other gang-plagued cities to talk about the need for sustained state and federal support.
Donahue said the $2.6 million he learned would be directed to Monterey County pales next to the $14 million he must cut from the Salinas general fund over the next three years.
At the current pace, 2009 would shatter the previous homicide record for Salinas that was set in 2008 with 25.