Two men are in custody following the shooting of a Merced County Sheriff’s deputy Wednesday night near Livingston, Sheriff Vern Warnke said during a Thursday news conference.
The suspects have been identified as Javier Delgadillo-Munoz, 27, and Paul Demarcus Glenn, both of Modesto.
Glenn, the alleged shooter, faces charges of attempted murder of a police officer, first-degree robbery, assault with a firearm, conspiracy to commit a crime, intentional discharge of a firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle.
Delgadillo-Munoz faces charges of conspiracy to commit a crime, first-degree robbery, possession of stolen property, violation of probation and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The shooting is the latest in a series of violent acts in which members of law enforcement have been targeted.
Earlier this year, Merced County Sheriff’s Sgt. Clint Landrum was shot while responding to a domestic violence report in Dos Palos. Landrum survived the shooting, and a suspect was arrested after a statewide manhunt.
In December last year, Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh was shot and killed during a traffic stop. Singh’s alleged killer remains in custody.
“I’ve been here with this agency over 40 years, and during the first 30 years we’ve never seen this kind violence toward law enforcement,” said Warnke. “And it just seems to be an uptick in what we are going to be starting to consider normal, and we shouldn’t be considering this normal, ever.”
Delgadillo-Munoz, one of the suspects from Wednesday’s incident, is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, Warnke said. In the shootings of Singh and Landrum, the suspects also are undocumented immigrants.
Warnke on Thursday referenced his critics who’ve questioned whether his office works too closely with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The issue is indicative of a larger debate happening statewide about California’s sanctuary law, which limits the contact local law enforcement can have with federal immigration agents.
“I get [that] a small group of people [are saying] we shouldn’t be in support of transferring these folks to ICE,” Warnke said. “However, they’re here committing crimes, and I’ve got deputies being shot at with these people being involved.”
Illegal pot grow
Detectives believe the two men broke into the home to steal from an illegal marijuana grow with more than 5,100 plants. The suspects allegedly beat a man at the house and bound his hands with zip ties.
Warnke said the marijuana grow could have been worth as much as about $1 million.
Warnke said around midnight Wednesday that the Sheriff’s Office received a report from a passerby about several individuals in front of a house on Yamato Road, north of Livingston.
The witness said that people were fighting in front of the house and that it looked as if they were armed with guns, Warnke said.
Deputy Oscar Ochoa arrived on scene within 10 minutes of the call. Within a minute of arriving, Ochoa was ambushed.
After the third shot, Ochoa determined where the shots were coming from and returned fire, stopping the incoming rounds, Warnke said.
The deputy, wearing his protective vest, was not seriously hurt. He was treated at the scene, taken to a local hospital and is expected to recover.
Officers with the California Highway Patrol and the Livingston Police Department responded immediately to assist the Sheriff’s Office and set up a perimeter.
Warnke said Delgadillo-Munoz was spotted by law enforcement near the house, trying to hide in a tree. Warnke didn’t disclose details of Glenn’s arrest.
According to Warnke, an assault rifle and a semiautomatic handgun were located at the scene.
Glenn is being held at the Merced County Main Jail, and Delgadillo-Munoz remains at the John Latoracca Correctional Center.