Two men were arrested on New Year’s Day after firing automatic weapons into the air in Merced, police said on Friday.
Officer Nate McKinnon was patrolling in the area of 11th and O streets minutes after midnight when he heard the rapid gunfire, police said. He got out of his car in the 700 block of 11th Street and could see multiple people firing weapons in a backyard.
One of the guns was an AK-47 assault rifle, police said, so the officer ordered the men to drop the weapons. Two of the men cooperated and a third ran into the house, police said.
The homeowner was uncooperative, police said, so officers used a search warrant to enter his home. Police seized 21 firearms, including an AR-15 assault rifle, an AK-47 and a TEC-9. One of the handguns seized had been reported stolen. Also inside the home were four high-capacity magazines, including a 100-round drum magazine for the AK47, police said.
More than 450 rounds of ammunition were also seized.
Officers arrested 28-year-old Juan Carlos Fernandez, who was released with a citation, police said. Another man, 30-year-old Ramiro Fernandez Jr., was taken to Merced County Jail on suspicion of possession of a machine gun and high-capacity magazines, police said.
Neither man was in custody on Friday.
Merced Police are asking anyone with any information regarding this incident to contact Sgt. Leon Pintabona at 209-388-7761. The public can send information via anonymous text messages to police department by dialing “TIP411” (847411) and including the word “Comvip” as the “keyword” in the text message.