ATWATER, CA – The son of former Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II has been identified by multiple sources as the victim in a shooting that occurred in Atwater today. We are working on a full story and will being you more information as it becomes available. Our hearts are with the Morse family. No family should ever endure such violence.
UPDATE: Atwater PD responded to a 10 AM call in regards to a drive-by shooting that occurred in the 1800 block of Fir Avenue. The victim has been identified by law enforcement sources as 22-year-old Ethan Morse, the son of former Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II and his wife Cindy. They have two other sons, Dylan and Ryan Morse.
At least three schools were placed on lockdown including St. Anthony’s School, Mitchell Senior School and Mitchel K-6.
The alleged shooter has been described as a male Hispanic who was wearing sunglasses, tan pants and a black t-shirt and was seen fleeing the scene of the shooting heading eastbound on foot on Fir.
Atwater PD have stated they are working on a press release and will update the public shortly.
Ethan Morse had been the subject of a drive-by shooting that had occurred in Atwater in 2013 during an Easter Day birthday party. Although three teens had been killed and two wounded by gunfire, only one, Bernabed Hernandez-Canela, had been the victim of the drive-by shooting that Morse and his alleged accomplice, Jacob Tellez, were accused of. Ethan was released from jail during his preliminary hearing after Judge Ronald Hansen declared Ethan was factually innocent based on one witnesses account. Ethan later sued the county and the Sheriff’s department and won a settlement over $500,000.
Ethan had also been the subject of a case that stemmed from a Merced PD search back on July 7, 2017 at 324 W. 20th Street in Merced. Officers located 4.9 grams of cocaine, 24.17 grams of marijuana, two .25 caliber handguns, a .22 caliber rifle, ammunition, $750 in cash and digital scales.
The apartment building is co-owned by Cindy Morse, an attorney and mother of Ethan. Merced PD officers concluded that Ethan may have been involved because he was listed as the renter of the apartment but claimed he had moved out two months earlier. He also stated to Police that he did return to the apartment regularly to shower after he worked out. Ethan also stated that he had some medical marijuana plants that were in the closet but denied he knew anything about the other drugs or weapons authorities located during the raid.
Ethan had also been accused of an earlier morning vandalism spree in which he and two others were accused of driving around in his fathers car and smashing windows and sideview mirrors on several parked cars on Joreg Ave in Merced. No charges were ever filed as it was customary for Merced PD to not arrest and charge any members of the Morse family.
The Morse family has been the subject of multiple investigations including the eldest son, Dylan, who served time for the DUI death of Alexander Ruiz, a UC Berkeley student. The incident occurred in Sonoma, CA and Dylan had been sentenced to serve 12 years in prison but was reduced just a few months after sentencing to a little more than 3 years in prison.
Ryan, the youngest son, was alleged to have been involved in pointing a loaded firearm at another teen boy while they were drinking late at night at the families Morse, Morse and Morse law firm. A screen shot of the Merced PD dispatcher computer was sent to Above All Laws to prove the call had occurred because good officers at the PD knew it would be covered up.
The former District Attorney Larry Morse himself was also alleged to have assaulted a reporter for Merced County News Television when the reporter asked the DA about his alleged involvement in threesomes late at night when the court was closed. During one of the alleged sexual encounters it was also alleged that the DA may have left a cigarette burning in an ashtray when someone dumped it into a trash can in his office. A fire later destroyed the DA’s office in the court building causing millions in damages. The case was referred to the Attorney General Kamala Harris who refused to file charges or review any of the video evidence. The reporter later settled a federal lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.
Shortly after Ethan’s release from jail for the alleged drive-by shooting in Atwater, his father was investigated by the Sheriff’s department for having an unregistered firearm in his office, which is illegal. The then Attorney General Kamala Harris refused again to file any charges on her friend Larry Morse for the illegal firearm.