The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department arrested a Modesto man Saturday night in Turlock on a variety of criminal charges after a pursuit that ended with the suspect hiding in the Foster Farms plant.
The arrest of Fernando Zuniga, 39, of Modesto began around 5 p.m. Saturday when a Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy spotted him driving on Lander Avenue. Zuniga is a documented gang member who had a warrant out for his arrest for domestic violence, according to the sheriff’s department.
The deputy tried to pull Zuniga over, but he refused and sped off. The vehicle pursuit came to a quick end when Zuniga crashed into another vehicle in the area of Fifth and C streets. The occupants of the car Zuniga hit sustained minor injuries and were taken to an area hospital for treatment, said sheriff spokesperson Deputy Raj Singh.
Zuniga ran from the crash scene, leaving behind one passenger in his car. He ran into the Foster Farms plant at Fifth and West F streets. The deputies chasing after him believed they saw him running with a weapon in his hand, Singh said.
The Foster Farms plant had just a few employees working at the time and they were all able to get safely out of the plant.
A perimeter was established around the plant and the department’s tactical team had just been briefed on the situation when Zuniga came out of the plant and then quickly retreated inside again.
“He came out and went back inside a couple of times before finally surrendering himself,” Singh said. “That all transpired in about two to three minutes.”
There were no guns found in the plant, but deputies did find ammunition. They also found two shotguns in Zuniga’s car, as well as more ammunition.
Zuniga was taken into custody on charges of fleeing a peace officer, reckless driving, hit and run causing injury, resisting arrest, being a felon in possession of a firearm, making criminal threats and inflicting corporal injury to a spouse. Court records indicate that if found guilty this could be Zuniga’s third strike in California’s three strikes law.