Two men were arrested Monday afternoon in Ballico on the suspicion they were firing an assault rifle from a vehicle, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department reported.
Just after 2 p.m. Monday the sheriff’s department received a report of someone firing a gun from a black Jaguar in the area of East Avenue and Newport Road.
As the sheriff’s deputy was approaching the intersection of East Avenue and Santa Fe Road, he spotted a black Jaguar traveling northbound on Santa Fe.
The deputy followed the vehicle as it turned onto Vincent Road and then pulled into a long driveway at a dairy and came to a stop. The deputy initiated his emergency lights and ordered the driver back to his patrol car at gunpoint, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie.
When the driver, identified as 18-year-old Omar Fierros of Atwater, was asked about weapons in the car, he denied having any guns and said he was at the dairy to visit a friend. When questioned further, Fierros said he was trying to ditch the deputy because he didn’t have insurance.
A second deputy arrived at the scene and ordered the passenger, 20-year-old Jose Escarcega of Atwater, out of the vehicle.
The deputies searched the vehicle and found an Intrak Mk II assault rifle with a collapsible stock and a 30 round magazine partially full and a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun under the driver seat.
Witnesses said they saw someone stick their hand out the window of the vehicle and fire several rounds from a handgun. The deputies could not locate any damage, but it is believed the suspects were firing either at road signs or mail boxes, MacKenzie said.
Fierros was arrested on charges of possession of a concealable firearm, possession of an assault rifle, negligent discharge of a firearm, possession of a loaded firearm and possession of marijuana and remains jailed on $80,750 bail. Escarcega was arrested and booked on the same charges plus possession of concentrated cannabis and has an immigration hold placed on him.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail email@example.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.