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Authorities Seek Man That Took Merced Police Car

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Photo: Merced Police

MERCED – Police are seeking the identity of a man they believe took a police vehicle Wednesday night and later abandoned it.

The incident happened near a parking lot of the 1400 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. An officer was investigating a theft at about 10:40pm when an unknown person took the vehicle and sped off. Authorities said the officer was about 40 feet away from the car.

The abandoned vehicle was located about 20 minutes later near the 500 block of West 27th Street. Police said there were no firearms in the car at the time that it was taken. It was not damaged, and nothing was taken.

Surveillance images of the suspect were retrieved and released by authorities. The suspect is described as a Hispanic or Asian man wearing a black hat, black hoodie, red shirt and red shoes.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Merced Police Sergeant Jeff Horn at (209) 388-7739.

Carlos Rodriguez is an Emmy Award winning photojournalist specializing in public safety and natural disasters. His passion for local news stems from a deep commitment to his community, with a selfless mission to inform the citizens of the valley. As he worked on assignment for 19 days at the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, California, he spent most of his time helping survivors contact their loved ones to let them know they were ok. Carlos is a veteran of Univision, FOX, and Telemundo TV stations and a native of Modesto, California.

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Teen Suffers Head Wound in Highway Shooting, Suspects Arrested

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STOCKTON – Investigators with the California Highway Patrol arrested a man suspected of being involved in a shooting that wounded a teen Monday afternoon.

The incident happened shortly after 3:00pm near the area of Highway 99 and Kettleman Lane in Lodi. According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver of a Nissan Altima fired a gun several times at the victim vehicle, striking a teenage passenger in the head. The driver of the victim vehicle drove the teen to Lodi Memorial Hospital for care. Valley Division CHP Investigators responded to work the case.

Moses Mercado, a 21 year old resident of Lodi, was identified as a suspect during the course of the investigation. Investigators located and arrested Mercado after a brief pursuit in South Stockton that ended on South California near Worth Street. A passenger of the Nissan Altima, 21 year old Bella Villanueva of Ripon, was also arrested. Villanueva faces charges of aiding and abetting, conspiracy, and concealing evidence.

Mercado was charged with attempted murder, carrying a loaded firearm with a previous felony conviction, being a felon in possession of a firearm, conspiracy to commit a crime, being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition, and shooting at an inhabited vehicle. He is in custody without bail and due in court on June 30th at 1:30pm.

A third suspect, 29 year old Edgar Hernandez of Stockton, was arrested and charged with carrying a loaded unregistered firearm concealed in a vehicle.

“We want to assure the public that these acts of violence are not random, but are often targeted attacks between parties that know each other,” said Commander Mel Hutsell of the Stockton CHP Office. “We take these types of incidents very seriously and are committed to ensuring public safety.”

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact CHP Investigations at (916) 731-6300.

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Brush Fire Fills Skies with Smoke

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SALIDA – A brush fire in the north end of Stanislaus County filled the skies over Modesto and neighboring communities with smoke Monday and Tuesday.

The fire was reported in San Joaquin County initially, but jumped the Stanislaus River late Monday afternoon. The fire burned in heavy brush along the river near the 10100 block of Beckwith Road.

Early indications suggest the fire to have burned 150-200 acres, however at time of publication an exact measurement was not available.

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Airport Neighborhood Shooting Investigated

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MODESTO – One person was rushed to a hospital after a report of a person shot Monday Afternoon.

The incident happened shortly after 1:30pm near the intersection of Kerr Avenue and Tenaya Drive. An ambulance left with one person and a sheriff deputy following close behind.

The area was closed off with crime scene tape as deputies examined the scene. Evidence technicians and investigators responded as well.

No further details were available at time of publication.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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