Man arrested in Merced home-invasion robbery, second man flees

A suspected gang member was jailed over the weekend, but a second suspect remained at large after the two men broke into a Merced home armed with a gun and a hatchet in a failed attempt to rob the residents, police said.

Cesar Ramirez, 20, allegedly carried the hatchet and was unable to escape, police said. Ramirez apparently pretended to be sleeping in the victim’s backyard when officers arrived on scene.

He was arrested after witnesses identified him as one of the robbers, the Merced Police Department said in a news release.

The other man may have fired at least one shot during the incident, which was reported around 5:20 a.m. Saturday at a home in the 800 block of West Ninth Street in Merced, Capt. Tom Trindad said in the statement.

No injuries were reported.

Police did not say how the suspects managed to get into the home.

The suspects grabbed one of the victims and demanded valuables. “The resident was forced into the backyard of an adjacent house, where the men attempted to gain access into that house,” Trindad said.

The other residents locked themselves in a bedroom and called 911, police said.

The other man ran away before police arrived, but for reasons that were not immediately clear, the other suspect, later identified as Ramirez, did not escape and pretended to be unconscious in the backyard, police said.

Police described Ramirez as a known gang member. A description of the second suspect was not released over the weekend.

Ramirez was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of robbery and kidnapping. He was still in custody Saturday afternoon on $250,000 bail, according to Merced County Sheriff’s Department records.