Shots fired call turns into hostage situation in Atwater

The Atwater police department is saying they responded to a call of shots fired in the 1300 block of Fir Avenue early this morning at approximately 1:00 AM, police say.

Upon officers arrival, officers heard subjects yelling inside of the residence. The preliminary investigation linked the residence to a call earlier in the shift whereby the spouse of one of the residents requested a welfare check of her husband and described him as being paranoid and that he had threatened her with a firearm.

Officers used various means and made several attempts to contact the occupants of the house however no one would answer the door.

Officers surrounded the residence at that point, as there was information provided that led them to believe the spouse reporting this may still be inside the home with the suspect.

Officers learned soon thereafter, that the spouse and young daughter had already successfully escaped the home prior to their arrival.

For 2 hours officers continued to request the male suspect to come out of the residence. Officers then learned that there was a 15-year-old male in the residence with the suspect.

Officers could then hear the suspect destroying items inside the house and barricading doors to prevent officers from entering.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team was requested to assist Atwater PD with the situation until a search warrant could be obtained. Surrounding residences were evacuated.

After a 4-hour standoff and prior to the SWAT team serving the search warrant, two male subjects exited the residence and surrendered to police without incident. The first subject was a 15-year-old male juvenile. The second was 38-year-old Jose Pedro Orozco Ceja.

Taken into custody in this incident was:

  1. Jose Pedro Orozco Ceja., DOB 3/12/82, a resident of Atwater

The male juvenile was released to his mother at the scene.

During the search of the residence, Officers seized four handguns and evidence that one of the firearms had been fired during the incident.

Orozco Ceja was booked into the Merced County Jail on the following charges:

  1. Willful Discharge of a Firearm with Gross Negligence
  2. Unlawful Display of a Firearm
  3. Criminal Terrorist Threats
  4. Child Endangerment

This case will be submitted to the District Attorney’s office to file formal charges. The investigation is ongoing. If you have information, please contact the Atwater Police Department at 209-357-6384

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