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.
Just before 9 p.m. on Monday police responded to the Denny's restaurant in the 1100 block of West 13th Street to investigate reports of a possible gunshot victim there.
When officers arrived, the found a man suffering from serious wounds, according to Sgt. Rodney Court.
Police determined the victim hadn't been shot and performed first aid, including treating a large laceration to the top of the man's 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. One some point, they said, the victim fled on-foot towards 13th Street while being chased by one of assailants, who was carrying a machete.
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. Police said he was found in a restroom at Denny's.
The victim was taken to a Modesto hospital. During the investigation, police identified Soto as a suspect. He was taken into custody at his residence by agents with the Gang Task Force.
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.