51-year-old arrested in connection to deadly stabbing in Merced County

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Merced County Sheriff's Office has arrested the suspect wanted in connection to a deadly stabbing near Dos Palos last Friday.

51-year-old Israel Espinoza of Gilroy was booked into the Merced County Jail on Monday night. He's being held on one charge of first-degree murder.

Espinoza is accused of killing 53-year-old Juan Guzman, who was stabbed multiple times during an altercation outside the Chevron gas station off Highway 33 and Highway 152.

Investigators say Merced County Sheriff's deputies arrested Espinoza on San Ysidro Avenue in Gilroy after the Gilroy Police SWAT team served a search warrant at his home but did not find him there.



This is a breaking news update. See our original report below.

Dos Palos resident Francisco Hernandez says he and his family were shocked to hear about the deadly stabbing at the gas station where they often stop.

"There's been stuff that has happened before, but never this close to home," he said.
The Merced County Sheriff's Office received a call on Friday from the Chevron just outside of Dos Palos about an altercation between two men in the parking lot.

Deputies say 53-year-old Juan Guzman died after being stabbed multiple times.

The unidentified suspect left the area before deputies got there.

"It's usually been pretty quiet, but things have been happening a lot more than normal and that's why it makes me more nervous," Hernandez said.

This area had two homicides within the span of a day. Before the fatal stabbing on Friday, just a half-mile away on Highway 33 was a deadly shooting."

"You see a lot of people walking around here, late nights, and they just look like they are up to no good sometimes," a man said.

This man, who wants to remain anonymous, lives near where that deadly shooting happened.
On Thursday morning, deputies found the victim unresponsive after a 911 call.

He died at the scene. Authorities identified 47-year-old Hugo Sanchez as the primary suspect and arrested him on murder charges later that day.

The neighbor we spoke with says the back-to-back crimes have led him to take extra measures.

"I actually invested in some security cameras and hopefully that can make things a little bit better, at least for my safety," he said.

We've confirmed detectives are reviewing surveillance video from the Chevron as part of the investigation into the deadly stabbing.

They have not released details about the suspect, but they are asking anyone with information to call the sheriff's office.
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