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Second suspect arrested in connection with Merced County homicide

Niko Flores, 19 of Los Banos. Photo courtesy of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.
Niko Flores, 19 of Los Banos. Photo courtesy of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.

A second suspect has been arrested in connection with a January homicide in Merced County, authorities said.

According to the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, 19-year-old Niko Flores of Los Banos, was arrested Sunday in connection with a slaying that occurred at a house party in the Dos Palos area Jan. 19.

Flores is the second suspect authorities have arrested in connection with the January shooting. Authorities arrested 22-year-old suspect Dylan Ballard in connection with the same case.

Merced County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of gunshots at a party in the 21000 block of Reynolds Avenue in the early morning hours of Jan. 19, according to a news release.

When deputies arrived they located two victims. One victim was transported to a Fresno area hospital and the other victim, identified by the Merced County Coroner as 23-year-old Elias Vivanco Jr., died at the scene.

At the time of Ballard’s arrest authorities said the shooting was believed to be a gang-related crime and detectives continued the investigation, later issuing a warrant for Flores’s arrest.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merced County Sheriff’s Office at 209-385-7445 and press the number one at the recording. Information can remain anonymous and may help solve the crime, according to authorities.

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