Deputies exchange gunfire with suspected dairy robbers in Tulare County

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was a long and hectic Wednesday night for the Tulare County Sherriff's Office.

A string of dairy robberies led to a pursuit and an exchange of gunfire between the suspects and deputies.

Sheriff Mike Boudreaux says it started when they responded to an armed robbery at Little Rock Dairy in Tipton around 9 pm, where they found four victims.

"Who were approached by four armed suspects," he said. "One had a shotgun and one had a pistol."

Six minutes later, a second armed robbery was reported at Golden State Dairy in Pixley, where two victims were targeted.

A third armed robbery happened at Henry Garcia dairy in rural Tulare only a half-hour later.

"At this location, three victims were robbed at gunpoint," Boudreaux said.

At the third location, one suspect carjacked one of the victims. The sheriff says, at that moment, it was all hands on deck.

"Every available unit was dispatched and we began reaching out to allied agencies," he said.

Mendonsa Farms in Tipton was the fourth dairy targeted. Owner Brandon Mendonsa says he spoke with the milkman was robbed at gunpoint.

Vanderham and Son's Dairy in Tipton was hit last, where three victims were robbed at gunpoint.

At the same time, law enforcement kept an eye out for the stolen car, which they soon spotted on Highway 99 and Avenue 24.

A pursuit followed and ended in the area of Avenue 80 and Road 140, where the suspects crashed the car and opened fire on deputies.

"One of our deputies received a bullet through his shirt," Boudreaux said.

Deputies fired back, but no one was hurt.

They soon arrested 24-year-old Agustine Chavez, 18-year-old Ismael Cervantez, both of Pixley, as well as a 15 and 16-year-old boy.

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