Multiple Shots Fired at Merced Off-Duty Officer

June 19, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Merced Police have arrested two teenagers who they say shot at an off-duty officer Friday morning.19 year old Daniel Uriostegui and a 17 year old boy both face several felony charges, including attempted murder.

This was the scene near a busy Merced intersection shortly after an off-duty police officer was shot at several times. Neighbors woke to the sound of the bullets around 4:30 a.m.

Investigators say Officer Vance Walker was driving his personal car to a nearby gym when he slowed down for a young man who was walking across Park Avenue ahead of him. Then another young man on his left yelled out asking if Walker had a cigarette. That's when the veteran officer of more than ten years got a bad feeling.

Merced Police Dept. Cmdr. Floyd Higdon said, "At that point, the officer felt this might be something going wrong, if you will, the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He then drove around that person, as he did so, he was immediately fired upon three times, maybe more by the subject that was to his left."

Three of the bullets hit his truck, shattering the back window, but Walker wasn't hit.

Moments later, other officers swarmed the area while a sheriff's office helicopter kept watch overhead. In just 32 minutes, officers had both suspects in custody...a 17 year old accused of firing the gun, and 19 year old Daniel Uriostegui. Both have criminal histories, but investigators are not sure whether they knew Walker was an officer.

"It might have been one of those robberies that we've had so many of, it could have been an attempt to take out an officer," said Cmdr. Higdon

After making the arrests, the Merced Swat Team served a search warrant at this apartment complex and found a revolver they believe was used in the shooting.

Just last month, Merced Police and other officers from across the state arrested more than a dozen suspects after they learned a "gang hit" had been placed on another one of their officers.

They say the suspects in Friday's shooting are gang members, but investigators are still trying to determine whether a "hit" had also been placed on Officer Walker.

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