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Suspects in Yuba City shooting lacking
A Yuba City gunshot victim was listed in critical condition on Monday in Rideout Memorial Hospital and family members of Anthony Valentino Gonzales said he is not expected to survive.
The 18-year-old Yuba City High School graduate was on life-support on Monday afternoon, a day after he was shot at least once in the head about 5 p.m. Sunday near the 300 block of C Street in Yuba City, just north of Gauche Aquatic Park and the Sutter County Fairgrounds, according to family members.
"I just feel so bad. I can't believe it was him this happened to," sobbed Gonzales' cousin, Kayla McQuay. "I wish he could've had a better life."
No arrests have been made, police said, and no shooter descriptions were available.
Gonzales' mother, Cindy, was not available for an interview, but said she was speaking with authorities regarding organ donation.
Lt. Tom Tappe said it was still too early in the investigation to release many details, including whether or not the violence was gang-related.
Family members were adamant that Sunday's violence was gang-related.
Police also declined to confirm reports that a second man was also shot during the melee.
The emergency room at Rideout Memorial Hospital was placed on lockdown for several hours after the shooting.
"It was a precautionary measure and was lifted at 8:30 p.m.," said hospital spokeswoman Sabrina Thomas.
Gonzales' cousin, Trisha Chaney, held the young man's hand for a several minutes at the hospital Sunday night and said he squeezed her finger three times while he was unconscious.
"I just bawled and talked to him," Chaney said, tears sliding down her cheeks. "I told him to fight if he could, but if not, to go with Jesus."
Nicknamed "Peewee," friends and family described Gonzales as a talented, intelligent and artistic, but troubled young man who graduated from high school early despite coming from a home described as "broken."
"He was so smart and always came over here with a big smile on his face," Chaney said.
However, people close to Gonzales also acknowledged a history of gang involvement. Gonzales was one of six gang members accused of robbing a Domino's pizza delivery driver in 2010 with BB guns. Gonzales was 16 at the time, but was charged as an adult, according to Appeal-Democrat archives.
Friends said Gonzales had worked hard to separate from that lifestyle and intended to enroll in Yuba College to take engineering classes. "He was just at the wrong time and wrong place," said Caesar Anaya, a family member.
The family does not believe Gonzales was the intended target.
Police are hoping witnesses will come forward to aide the investigation.
"We would like any and all assistance from the public," Tappe said Monday morning.
Witness cooperation has been an issue for police, especially in recent weeks, after shootings and stabbings sent three people to the hospital with major, but nonlife-threatening injuries.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department at 822-4660. Callers may remain anonymous.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.