By Associated Press - Friday, December 20, 2019

MERCED, Calif. (AP) - Two men have been arrested on suspicion of shooting a California sheriff’s deputy whose protective vest may have saved his life.

Javier Delgadillo-Munoz and Paul Glenn, both of Modesto, were arrested Wednesday night after the attack on the deputy, the Merced Sun-Star reported.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the men had lawyers to speak on their behalf.

The Merced County deputy had gone to a home north of the community of Livingston at around midnight Wednesday to investigate a report of people who appeared to have guns fighting in front of a house, Sheriff Vern Warnke said at a Thursday news conference.

When Deputy Oscar Ochoa arrived, he was ambushed and returned fire after the third shot, the sheriff said.

His protective vest kept him from serious harm. He was treated at the scene, taken to a local hospital and was expected to recover, the Sun-Star reported.

Officers with the California Highway Patrol and the Livingston Police Department arrived and sealed off the area. Delgadillo-Munoz was arrested while trying to hide in a tree near the house. Warnke didn’t disclose details of Glenn’s arrest.

Both men are suspected of breaking into the home to steal from an illegal marijuana farm with more than 5,000 plants, Warnke said. They allegedly beat a man at the house.

An assault rifle and a semiautomatic handgun were found at the scene, the sheriff said.

Earlier this year, a Merced County sheriff’s sergeant was wounded after answering a domestic violence report in Dos Palos. He survived and a suspect was arrested after a statewide manhunt.

And a police corporal was shot and killed during a traffic stop last December in the town of Newman in neighboring Stanislaus County. The alleged killer was arrested.

“I’ve been here with this agency over 40 years and during the first 30 years we’ve never seen this kind violence toward law enforcement,” Warnke. “And it just seems to be an uptick in what we are going to be starting to consider normal and we shouldn’t be considering this normal, ever.”

Warnke said Delgadillo-Munoz was in the country illegally, as were the suspects in the other two shootings.

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