Parolee sought in chase is captured

A 30-year-old wanted parolee who escaped from law enforcement after a weekend vehicle pursuit was captured by Merced County sheriff's deputies Monday morning.

Richard Castillo was taken into custody about 10:45 a.m. at a residence in the 1700 block of West Seventh Street in south Merced, according to deputy Kevin Blake of the sheriff's STAR Team.

The STAR Team conducted a search of the house, and called several times for Castillo to come out, but he didn't exit. The team searched the home and found Castillo hiding in a closet under several blankets. He was taken into custody without further incident, Blake said.

Law enforcement had been seeking Castillo since Saturday, when Merced police say he eluded capture after a vehicle pursuit by officers.

The pursuit began after 7 p.m. on the south side of Merced. Officers saw Castillo driving through stop signs, authorities said. Officers attempted to stop him, but Castillo refused to pull over, according to Lt. Tom Trindad of the Merced Police Department.

The pursuit continued on Highway 140 toward Gustine. Merced County deputies, along with the California Highway Patrol, were involved in the pursuit.

The chase led to the area of Highway 140 and Interstate 5, just west of Gustine. Sometime during the incident, a Merced police officer discharged his firearm. Castillo escaped on foot after the vehicle pursuit, according to Sgt. Anthony Bejaran, spokesman for Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department.

Because the officer- involved shooting happened in Stanislaus County, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department is handling that part of the investigation.

Thus far, Stanislaus County deputies have released little information about the circumstances of the officer- involved shooting.