Merced man arrested as third suspect in robbery of El Nido teens


Merced County sheriff's deputies reported a third arrest this week in the robbery of three teen boys in El Nido earlier this month.

Martel Armstrong, 18, was taken into custody Tuesday at a residence in the 2900 block of Bea Drive near Merced, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman.

Detective Dwayne Pavelski, who had been heading up the investigation into the theft, was able to identify Armstrong as one of the people allegedly responsible for the crime, according to MacKenzie.

Armed with an arrest warrant, Pavelski went to Armstrong's residence and took him into custody without incident.

Armstrong confessed to the robbery and also admitted being involved in a March 11 drive-by shooting, reported in the 2000 block of Lobo Avenue in the Beachwood area, MacKenzie said.

During the shooting, reported around 11 p.m., a bullet nearly struck a sleeping toddler. The suspects believed a rival gang member was inside the house, MacKenzie said.

The strong-arm robbery was reported March 2 in the 10000 block of South Highway 59.

The incident happened after a 17-year-old boy and two other boys had left track practice and were at a bus stop. The suspects allegedly beat the 17-year-old victim, taking his school bag and his friends' cell phones.

Two other suspects were arrested for allegedly being involved in the strong-arm robbery: 19-year-old Kevin Insy and a 16-year-old boy.

Armstrong was booked on suspicion of shooting at an inhabited dwelling and robbery with gang enhancements. He's being held in lieu of $350,000 bail.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com