Man dies after being struck with bat; suspect in custody

A man in his 50s is dead after being struck in the head with a baseball bat during an argument Thursday afternoon in Merced, police reported.

The victim’s name hasn’t been released, pending notification of his family or next of kin.

Police have arrested one suspect, Cochise Potts, 29, of Merced.

Capt. Tom Trindad said the investigation into the homicide is ongoing and details are preliminary. “We just don’t know everything,” Trindad said, when asked about the circumstances of the death.

Trindad said the argument may have stemmed over a disagreement about money.

Potts told police the victim had come over to his Skylark Court residence in south Merced to confront him about money that was allegedly owed. Potts denied owing the money and claimed the victim had brought a baseball bat with him.

Potts claimed the victim swung the bat at him, and struck him during the argument. A struggle ensued, and Potts claimed he took the bat from the victim and struck him in the head, according to Trindad.

Police and Riggs Ambulance responded to the scene after 3 p.m. and efforts were made to save the victim with CPR. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Potts has been booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of homicide.

According to jail records, Potts is also known as Donnie X. Potts, Cocjise Vern Potts and Laron Baily.

Records show Potts was arrested July 17 by Merced police on suspicion of public drunkenness behind his home in the first block of Skylark Court. He was also arrested May 13 near his home by Merced police on suspicion of providing false identification to officers.

Both cases are pending in Merced Superior Court, according to booking records.

Trindad said the death is the eighth homicide reported this year in the city of Merced. Police reported four homicides in the city in 2013.