Man jailed in attack Atwater officer said he witnessed

A man remained behind bars Monday after his arrest over the weekend in connection with punching a woman in the face in front of a patrolling police officer, the Atwater Police Department reported.

Sgt. Dick Wisdom said he witnessed the incident just before midnight Friday outside the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall on Broadway Street. Wisdom said he saw the man, later identified as Gustavo Barajas, punch the woman with a closed fist on the left side of her face, knocking her to the ground, Lt. Sam Joseph said.

Wisdom intervened, pinned Barajas, 21, against a police vehicle and took him into custody.

The 31-year-old woman lost consciousness and was hospitalized with injuries to her head and neck and complained of injuries from an earlier unreported assault by the man, Joseph said.

Officers described the woman as Barajas’ girlfriend. She was treated at an area hospital and released, police said.

Authorities said an argument over the couple’s child sparked the reported violence. There was a family party inside the VFW Hall at the time of the incident, police said.

Barajas was booked at the Merced County Jail on suspicion of felony domestic violence and a misdemeanor methamphetamine paraphernalia charges. He remained in custody Monday with bail set at $52,000.