On Thursday, September 6, 2018, the Merced Police Department’s Gang Violence
Suppression Unit (GVSU) officers developed information that a vehicle matching the
description of the suspect’s vehicle had firearms. Officers located the car in the 100 block of E 12th St in Merced.

Officers approached the suspect’s vehicle driven by Francisco Cruz and tried making contact with subjects in the car. Shortly after, the car sped away and a vehicle pursuit ensued. GVSU officers and K-9 officers engaged in a vehicle pursuit with the suspect who drove onto highway 99 at a high rate of speed.

Officers pursued the suspect southbound on highway 99 who was driving his vehicle in and out of traffic at speeds of over 120 MPH. Officers lost sight of the suspect in Chowchilla and the pursuit was cancelled.

Los Banos PD was notified and they pursued the suspect’s vehicle until it crashed into other vehicles on W Pacheco Blvd. Los Banos PD arrested Jesus Tapia who was a passenger in the suspect’s car and two other suspects fled from the vehicle. Officers searched the area and located the driver, Cruz hiding nearby. GVSU officers searched the suspect’s car and located a 9mm handgun and ammunition.

Both suspects were arrested for gun charges and resisting. The driver, Cruz was also charged for felony evading and felony hit and run. They were both booked at the Merced County jail for the mentioned charges.

Merced Police are asking anyone with any information regarding this crime to contact
Gang Violence Suppression Unit (GVSU) Sgt. Rodriguez at (209) 385-4710, or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at (209) 385-
4725. The public can send information via anonymous text messages to police
department by dialing “TIP411” (847411) and including the word “Comvip” as the
“keyword” in the text message.

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