A disturbed 32-year-old man is recovering after he allegedly nailed his own hand to a tree in front of the Merced County sheriff's detectives office.
After receiving a call, Merced police officers responded to the scene in the 800 block of West 22nd Street around 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, where they found the man. He had impaled his left hand to the tree with a 3-inch-long nail, according to Lt. Andre Matthews, police spokesman.
Paramedics responded to the scene and removed the nail from the tree, but kept it in the man's hand. The nail was later removed after he was taken to the hospital, Matthews said.
Police believe the man used a carpenter's hammer, nailing the center of his hand to the tree with the palm up. Matthews said it's unknown how the man was able to hold the nail and hammer it with one hand.
"There's no indication that anyone else helped him," Matthews said.
Matthews said police aren't releasing the man's name because he's not being charged with a crime.
When officers arrived at the scene, the man explained that he was upset about an earlier arrest by the sheriff's department and had fallen on hard times since then, Matthews said.
Police said the man was calm after they arrived and didn't exhibit any outward signs of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He told officers he'd been nailed to the tree for two hours, before being discovered.
He was previously arrested by sheriff's deputies in 2007 on suspicion of sexual battery and annoying or molesting a child. Those charges were later dismissed, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman.
Matthews said the man is being held at a medical facility for a mental health evaluation.
Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.