Merced County sheriff's investigators have arrested an Atwater man on suspicion of assaulting a 71-year-old man during a home invasion robbery.
Hugo Salazar Gutierrez, 33, of Atwater, admitted to detective Jason Jacklitsch he robbed the victim and hit him several times with a golf club, said deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman.
The crime was reported the afternoon of July 5 in the 1600 block of Gerard Avenue. Investigators said the victim was walking to a Valero gas station on Childs Avenue and was approached by the suspect.
The suspect asked the victim to buy him a pack of cigarettes and the victim agreed. They struck up a conversation and later agreed to meet at the victim's house for beer and cigarettes.
At the victim's house, the suspect arrived with another man, who appeared to be younger and was introduced as the suspect's "brother." After a friend of the victim left the house, the suspect attacked, beating the victim with a club and choking him to unconsciousness. The victim was robbed of his wallet and cell phone and the pair left the scene.
Gutierrez was arrested by Atwater police on July 31 for outstanding warrants. Atwater police contacted the sheriff's department because Gutierrez matched the description of the robbery suspect.
During an interview conducted by investigators at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility, Gutierrez admitted committing the crime. Jacklitsch also was able to connect him with use of the victim's credit card.
MacKenzie said investigators located the suspect's brother, but he wasn't arrested or charged.
Gutierrez was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and elder abuse. He's being held without bail.
Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.