MERCED — A 19-year-old man was injured this week in a gang-related machete attack near 13th and R streets, Merced police reported.
Police arrested Uriel Soto, 19, of Merced on suspicion of participating in the attack. Three others believed to be involved remain at large.
Just before 9 p.m. on Monday police responded to the Denny's restaurant in the 1100 block of W. 13th St. for a possible gunshot victim. When officers arrived they found the victim suffering from serious lacerations, according to Sgt. Rodney Court.
Police determined the victim hadn't been shot, and officers provided first aid for his wounds, which included a large laceration to the top of his head and deep lacerations to both hands.
During the investigation, police learned the victim had been pumping gas at the nearby Shell gas station when he was approached by four Latino teens.
Officers determined an argument took place and the victim then fled on-foot toward 13th Street while being chased by one of assailants, who was carrying a large machete, Court said.
The group caught up with the victim just outside the entrance to the Denny's and hit him several times with the weapon, causing the injuries. The victim was found in the restroom of the Denny's bleeding from his injuries.
The victim was taken to a Modesto hospital and treated. During the investigation, police identified Soto as a suspect. He was taken into custody by Gang Task Force officers at his home.
Police said Soto is a validated gang member and it appears the motive was gang related. Officers are still looking for witnesses and the three remaining people involved in the attack.
Soto was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of aggravated assault and mayhem.
Police are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Joe Deliman at (209) 385-6913 or (209) 385-4702, or the department's automated tipline at (209) 385-4725. The public can send information via anonymous text messages to police department by dialing "TIP411" (847411) and including the word "Comvip" as the keyword in the text message.
-- Sun-Star staff