Police say a man was flown to a regional hospital early Saturday after he was stabbed in the back in the 400 block of West 16th Street.
Officers with the Merced Police Department were dispatched to an alley in the area when witnesses reported an argument and subsequent fight between two men around 12:30 a.m., according to the Merced Police Department.
When officers arrived, they found the 21-year-old victim lying on the ground with a wound to his lower back.
The victim was conscious, but in severe pain, police said. Paramedics determined the stab wound was serious. The man's condition is unknown.
The assailant fled the scene in an unidentified vehicle before officers arrived and he hasn't been located, police say. They describe him as a 20-to-25-year-old Latino man weighing about 200 pounds with black hair. He's estimated to be about 5 feet, 5 inches tall.
Detectives from the Merced Police Department are investigating the assault to determine if it was gang related. They're trying to identify and locate the assailant.
Police are asking witnesses or anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspect to call Detective Sgt. Scott Skinner at (209) 385-4702 or the tip line at (209) 385-4725. Callers can remain anonymous.