MERCED, California (KSEE/KGPE) — The manhunt is over: the man authorities say shot at a Merced County Sheriff’s deputy is in custody after a high-speed chase starting on the Central Coast.
Authorities have been searching for 51-year-old Guadalupe Lopez-Herrera after he fired shots at deputies Wednesday afternoon. Multiple agencies helped in the search.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said based on leads, authorities knew he was headed to San Luis Obispo because that’s where his wife’s family is. By Thursday morning, they found him at a residence, and started chasing him.
“[Agencies there] did place a stake out on the residence. My understanding is he attempted three times to get in this house when the stake out crew found him,” Warnker said.
California Highway Patrol took over the chase when Lopez-Herrera got outside city limits.
Warnke said the chase would go on for at least 45 minutes on multiple highways. Eventually, spike strips and a pit maneuver stopped him in his tracks around noon.
California’s sanctuary policies
Lopez-Herrera is a known violent offender, according to Warnke, being the suspect in numerous domestic violence charges in Merced County.
Warnke adds Lopez-Herrera is also an undocumented immigrant that was in jail back in January. He said he would have notified Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — but state law prohibited him from doing so.
Specifically, S.B. 54, which prevents local agencies from sharing detained immigrants’ information with federal agencies — or even allowing ICE agents into county jails.
Warnke would go on to say if ICE were notified, this situation wouldn’t have happened. Also reminding those who attended the press conference of slain Newman Police Officer Ronil Singh.
Singh was shot and killed in Dec. 2018 by Paulo Virgen Mendoza, who also was an undocumented immigrant.
“Bottom line, our immigration policies need to be revamped. We’re going to continue to have more of this situation happen,” Warnke said.
Lopez-Herrera had numerous charges in Oakdale as well, according to Warnke. His charges there include spousal abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.
In the end, Warnke is glad to have all his deputies safe, especially the one who was shot doing well at home. A CHP officer was also shot at during the chase, according to Warnke. CHP confirms that officer isn’t hurt.
As far as charges go, Lopez-Herrera is facing at least an attempted murder charge from the Merced County Sheriff’s Office. Charges are pending from CHP.
The investigation is ongoing.