Police identify suspect in west Medford drive-by shooting

Santiago Loveland-Flores

Police are on the hunt for a 15-year-old investigators have identified as the alleged shooter in a May 7 drive-by shooting in west Medford.

Santiago Loveland-Flores, of the 900 block of Murray Street, is alleged to have fired several shots during an altercation at around 8:20 p.m. near the intersection of Benson Street and Dakota Avenue. Based on witness accounts, three shots rang out before a truck sped away. No one was hurt.

"Through the investigation we did positively ID him," Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said. "He is our shooter and we have probable cause for arrest."

Investigators believe Loveland-Flores is wise to the police pursuit. Officers have fanned out across the neighborhood, paying visits to more than 50 houses to see if Loveland-Flores was hiding out.

"He knows we're looking for him, and he's been elusive," Budreau said. "I think it's just a matter of time before he's caught."

The photo provided by law enforcement is a South Medford High School school photo, police said, but it's not yet known if Loveland-Flores is still enrolled there.

Loveland-Flores is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds. Anyone with information about his whereabouts should call Medford police at 541-770-4783. If he is spotted, witnesses should call 911, police said.

Police believe the shooting is gang-related, part of an ongoing feud between the Surenos and Nortenos gangs. Based on interviews, Budreau said the altercation started "with looks" between two groups. It grew to a verbal argument, and a bottle was thrown. Eventually Loveland-Flores fired the shots, police said.

"It basically went from an eye-staring contest," Budreau said, adding it's difficult to know whether the actual shooting was part of an initiation.

It's been a busy week for public safety in that neighborhood. A fire ripped through a Chestnut Street home near the shooting location and Loveland-Flores's home, though law enforcement does not believe it's related.

Budreau added that the block and surrounding neighborhood sees one of the highest emergency call volumes in the city.

"That's a busy area for us," Budreau said.

Police last week arrested a 16-year-old suspected of being the truck's driver. He was lodged at the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of attempted first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, and reckless endangerment.

— Ryan Pfeil

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