MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) --An argument about gang affiliation exploded into a shooting that left two women injured Tuesday morning. Merced police said a nearby officer patrolling the O Street area heard the gunshots around 1:30 a.m. and moved his car to safety while calling more officers.
Minutes later police said the suspect ran toward the car with a gun in his hand-- the officer acted fast.
"As soon as the officer confronted him he fell to the ground, threw the gun, and was taken into custody," said Sgt. Curtis Gorman, Merced Police Department.
Sergio Uriostegui, 27, was arrested on N and 11 Street, just a couple 100 feet away from the intersection where police discovered a woman shot in the front of a apartment complex.
"Uriostegui-- he's 27, had become involved in an argument with our two victims at their apartment and displayed a handgun, and, in a very cowardess act, opened fire on one of the victims," said Gorman.
Police said they discovered another woman shot closer to the area where Uriostegui was arrested.
One woman was taken to a hospital in Modesto and remains critical, but stable. The other was initially taken to a Merced hospital, but later also taken to a Modesto hospital for her injuries.
Jose Guzman lives directly in front of the apartment where the shooting occurred. He said he heard yelling, then shortly after the gunshots.
Merced police said Uriostegui isn't a new face for the department, and that he's been arrested for gang-related crime and aggravated assault.
"He's been in and out of prison. In fact his twin brother is serving time in prison for a shooting that took place several years ago," said Gorman.
Police spent hours at the scene gathering evidence and the investigation is ongoing. They said, luckily, the patrol officer was nearby, otherwise it could have been deadly.
"He may have potentially saved these ladies lives," said Gorman.
Police said they are still searching for some persons of interest and will be attempting to locate them during the next couple of days.
Anyone with information of this double shooting is asked to call the Merced Police Department.