Merced police: Suspect in gun-brandishing incident gave false name

Merced police this week said one of three suspects arrested after allegedly brandishing a gun near a cellphone store apparently gave an incorrect name to law enforcement.

The suspect, 23-year-old George Eddings, was taken into custody Tuesday with Mark Whitaker, 21, and a 16-year-old male. Police initially said the 23-year-old man’s name was Nicholas Eddings, although further investigation determined that name was false.

The incident was reported Tuesday about 10:15 a.m. at the store in the first block of West Main Street.

The store’s owner said he kicked several people out of his store when they started arguing. Several others arrived at the store with weapons, authorities said. The owner said no guns were brandished inside his store. The owner said he punched the store’s panic button after someone entered the store, asking for help.

Police responded at 10:18 a.m., but the people had left. Officers searched the area for a burgundy-colored Cadillac and found one in an alley several blocks away in the area of 18th Street, according to Lt. Matt Williams. Police said they searched the car and an undisclosed nearby residence where they located a stolen assault rifle, as well as unspecified narcotics.

All three suspects were then taken into custody on suspicion of brandishing a firearm, with enhancements for criminal street gang participation.