The family of a man killed earlier this year made an emotional plea Wednesday for help from the public to identify those responsible for the death.
Erain Sandoval was gunned down April 26 outside a gas station in the 15000 block of August Avenue in Delhi. No arrests have been made.
His family described the 20-year-old Livingston High School graduate as a happy, upbeat young man who enjoyed sports, working out and was looking forward to attending college in Modesto. He was the second youngest of 10 brothers and sisters who grew up in Livingston.
Sandoval’s older sister, Blanca Trenado, said her little brother was never in trouble growing up and never belonged to any street gangs. Now, she said, her family wants justice and they are offering $5,000 for information that leads to the conviction of the those responsible for killing her brother.
“I don’t think we want anything more in the world now than someone being held accountable for what they did,” Trenado said Wednesday.
Sandoval was hanging out with two friends on a Saturday night. They stopped for gas around 9:30 p.m. at the Delhi Five Star Travel Plaza on August Avenue where they were confronted by several men in a dark-colored sedan, according to the Merced County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputy Delray Shelton said “heated” words and “gang slurs” were exchanged between the groups. Shelton said detectives do not believe Sandoval was involved with gangs, but that those responsible for his death may have believed otherwise.
Trenado said her brother was wearing a baseball-style cap and a sweater that both had the color red as part of their designs. She said her brother climbed out of his vehicle and spoke briefly with the other group.
The Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday released security camera footage of the vehicle investigators believe was driven by the suspects. The video shows a dark-colored sedan pull into the parking lot and drive past the front door of the business.
Sandoval’s vehicle was leaving the store when at least one person from the other vehicle opened fire. Sandoval was struck at least once. He was taken to a Modesto hospital where he later died, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Trenado was at her home in Los Angeles visiting with her sisters when she learned her brother was shot. The sisters drove to Modesto that same night. “When we got there we were told he wasn’t going to make it,” Trenado said.
Deputies declined to comment on the number of shots fired or whether they believe there was more than one shooter, saying releasing those details could harm the investigation.
Sandoval’s older brother, Juan Trenado, said he hopes those responsible are brought to justice, especially for his parents’ sake. “Everything you do in your life has consequences,” Juan Trenado said. “I’m not angry, I’m not upset at anyone, but to have some sort of accountability for your actions and to come forward.”
Sandoval’s siblings said they are not angry with those who killed their brothers or hoping for vengeance. “Honestly, I’m not really angry at them; I forgive them,” Blanca Trenado said, “but I do want justice for my brother. I know for sure I’m not stopping until that happens.”
Authorities are asking anyone with information regarding the case to contact the Merced County Sheriffâs Department at (209) 385-7445 or www.mercedsheriffs.com. Tips are confidential and callers may remain anonymous. Sun-Star staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.