Merced man arrested in Atwater slaying investigation

Atwater police arrested a 46-year-old Merced resident accused in the July 2 slaying of a 40-year-old man in Atwater.

Tyrone Johnston, was taken into custody Thursday night without incident in the area of Kelso Street and Determine Drive, near the scene of the homicide, according to a news release.

Arthur Hudson Jr. of Merced died outside an apartment complex in the 1100 block of Kelso Street after he was shot multiple times around 11:09 a.m. July 2, police said. First responders attempted life-saving efforts but Hudson died at the scene.

Johnston was booked in to the Merced County Jail on Friday morning with a $1 million bail on suspicion of murder, possessing a firearm as a felon and witness intimidation, the release states.

Police were still investigating possible motives for the slaying on Friday and have not identified or recovered the murder weapon, Atwater Police Chief Drew Bessinger said.

Police also said they couldn’t release any information regarding witness-intimidation allegations, citing a need to protect the investigation.

Johnston was convicted of street gang activity in 2015 and sentenced to two years in prison, according to Merced County Superior Court records. He also was arrested twice for violating parole conditions on June 12, 2015 and Dec. 29, 2016, according to Merced County Jail records.

Atwater police detectives were assisted by the Merced VIPER Gang Task Force, the Merced County Sheriff’s SWAT team and the Merced Police Department, according to the release.

A total of eight homicides have been reported this year in Merced County.