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MailTribune.com
  • Talent shooting mars Thanksgiving

    There's an injury, and it's just another in string of violent incidents recently
  • TALENT — The rash of violence plaguing the Rogue Valley in recent weeks continued Thanksgiving morning when three shots were fired into a Talent home where a child was sleeping, police said.
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  • TALENT — The rash of violence plaguing the Rogue Valley in recent weeks continued Thanksgiving morning when three shots were fired into a Talent home where a child was sleeping, police said.
    Police later arrested Aaron Daniel Adrian Merlina, 28, of the 3100 block of South Pacific Highway, on numerous felonies, including attempted murder, Talent Police Chief Mike Moran said. The incident had roots in a fight between Merlina and the couple who live at the home in the 100 block of First Street.
    The victims were disturbed Thanksgiving morning when Merlina and another person showed up at their doorstep at 6:45 a.m.
    After arguing through a closed door, police allege Merlina fired a shot through the door and two more through a window.
    Moran said an 11-year-old girl was sleeping just beyond the window on that side of the house.
    "This really was a dangerous situation," Moran said. "Having an innocent child put in danger like this heightens the crime."
    The girl was struck by broken glass, but was otherwise uninjured, Moran said on Thursday.
    Neighbors reported the gunshots shortly after the incident. Officers rushed to the scene, but Merlina had eluded capture.
    He was later arrested in Medford and lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of attempted murder, two counts of attempted first-degree assault, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, three counts of reckless endangering and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon.
    Moran said the weapon used was small-caliber handgun.
    The couple who live at the house where the shots were fired were identified as Dyana Rodrigues, 31, and Gerald Blake Wooley, 26.
    The person who accompanied Merlina to the home is being considered at witness to the crime and was not identified, Moran said.
    Moran considered calling out the area's major crime team unit, which is made up of various detectives from several city departments. He declined to do so after he felt sure his officers had control of the situation.
    Besides, Moran said, the major crime detectives have plenty on their plate with the spate of recent murders, shootings and suspicious suicides that have erupted from one end of the county to the other. "It's been a helluva few weeks," Moran said.
    Detectives are still seeking the suspect who attacked and nearly decapitated a young Ashland man. David Michael Grubbs, 23, was killed on the Central Ashland Bike Path near the Hunter Park tennis courts at about 5:35 p.m. Saturday.
    On Tuesday, a Shady Cove couple was found dead from gunshot wounds in their home in the 20000 block of Highway 62. The case was ruled a murder-suicide.
    In addition, police across the area are still looking for the man believed to have shot a Central Point man in the face in a drive-by shooting last month.
    Miguel Angel Carbajal, 19, of Dinuba, Calif., is wanted on multiple felony counts after firing into a car with a man and woman inside. The man suffered severe facial injuries and the woman received minor wounds.
    Carbajal's accomplice inside his escape car died when the vehicle left the road and struck a tree during a police chase.
    "Everyone is working hard on these cases," Moran said. "We just hope things calm down soon."
    The Thanksgiving morning shooting rattled neighbors, many of whom were probably looking forward to dinner with their families, Moran said. "It's unsettling," he said. "The neighborhood is quite upset. Fortunately, no one was hurt."
    Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.
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