A weekend shooting in Hanford with possible gang ties has turned into a homicide investigation after one of the victims died this week, according to the Hanford Police Department.
On Sunday evening, officers from the Hanford Police Department responded to calls of a stranded vehicle in the middle of the road going southbound on 11th Avenue near Davis Street. According to Police Lt. James Lutz, officers were informed that the two occupants inside the vehicle had been shot and went to assist.
Inside, officers found the driver, 18-year-old William Bernabe, unresponsive with gunshot wounds to the torso and upper body area. He was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno, where he was put on life support. On Thursday afternoon, the Hanford Police released a statement saying that Bernabe had died from his wounds.
Lutz stated the investigation has been ongoing since Sunday night, though police are limited in what they can reveal at this time.
“We’re tracking down some leads and we’re not at a standstill at all, so we are actively working this case,” Lutz said. “We do believe it’s gang-related or gang motivated at this time, but that’s just based on some of the information that we’ve gathered.”
Lutz added that Bernabe’s death hasn’t affected the pace of the investigation, as they were already treating it as they would a homicide.
“From the night of the scene – the information we gathered – we knew it was possibly going to head in this direction, due to the injury status of the victim,” Lutz said. “So our investigation hasn’t changed, except that now instead of having it as an attempted homicide and assault with a deadly weapon, we basically have a homicide and another attempted homicide.”
The passenger, 17, was found to have a bullet wound in the neck area. He was taken to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia and later released.