A Facebook page helped sheriff’s investigators make two arrests for assault.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office arrested two men Thursday in Atwater and Merced on charges of robbery and assault with great bodily injury after an Aug. 11 fight in Winton involving 10 suspects fighting one teenager.
Around 3 p.m. on Aug. 11, Detective Mike Ruiz heard a dispatcher’s call about 10 suspects fighting one victim at Olive Avenue and Shaffer Road in Winton. Ruiz was first to the scene and discovered a 15-year-old male victim male with blood on his face, hands and legs, torn clothing and missing his shoes.
The victim said he had gone to the store with a 6-year-old boy he was watching on their bikes to get a soda. Suddenly, a truck filled with people showed up. He told investigators they then got out of the truck and started beating him up. The suspects took his tennis shoes and wallet, according to a news release from Deputy Tom MacKenzie.
A witness had broken up the fight and the suspects got into their vehicle and left. The victim was able to identify two of the suspects as Dillon Westlake, 21, and Randy Hunt, 19, both of Atwater.
Through his investigation Ruiz was able to gain access to Westlake's Facebook page and discovered that he had posted videos of himself beating up what looked like teenagers in the Atwater area. After making contact with the Atwater Police Department, Ruiz was able to positively identify both suspects as being responsible for attacking the juvenile on Shaffer Road.
On Thursday afternoon, after obtaining an arrest warrant for both suspects, detectives went to a Sonic fast-food franchise in Atwater and located Hunt in the parking lot. He was taken into custody without incident. They then drove to the 200 block of Seneca in Merced and arrested Westlake inside an apartment, according to the news release.
Both men were booked on charges of robbery and assault with great bodily injury and remain on $75,000 bail. Their explanation for the attack was that the 15-year-old owed Westlake money.
During his investigation Ruiz found evidence that leads him to believe there are more victims who were assaulted in the Atwater/Winton area who haven’t yet come forward. The sheriff’s office asks anyone who was a victim to contact either the Merced County Sheriff's Office or the Atwater Police Department.