Huge underground parties that draw teenagers and young adults are turning increasingly dangerous and deadly, with two people killed and three others wounded in shootings in the last month, Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said Monday.
"Fusion parties" are organized through social media and text messaging, and geared toward underage kids who consume alcohol and drugs, Anderson said at a news conference.
The most recent victim was Drakkar Lewis, 18, of Fairmead. He was gunned down early Sunday while attending a fusion party near Avenue 18 1/2 and Road 21, just west of the Pilot Truck Stop near Chowchilla. A teenage girl was wounded. No one has been arrested.
Lewis is the same person who hosted a fusion party at a home in Fairmead where 19-year old Eleazar Iruegas of Madera was shot and killed on March 30, Anderson said. Two other young men also were shot. One of them was critically wounded.
Antonio Michael Ybarra, 23, and 20-year old Jose Pulido-Perez, both of Chowchilla, were arrested on April 5 in connection with the March 30 shooting. They face murder charges, Anderson said.
So far this year, sheriff's deputies have responded to 14 fusion parties in the unincorporated areas in which shots have been fired, Anderson said.
"These are children, some as young as 16 years of age and even younger," Anderson said, "Anyone of them could have also been shot."