A truck carrying two men opened fire at a Sheriffs Deputy early morning on Dec. 3. The search to find the suspects ended at the Days Inn near Avenue 16 and CA-99 at around 2 p.m.
The two suspects are now in custody. The truck used in the shooting has been recovered. Inside the truck detectives found an arsenal of stolen weapons some of which are connected to a residential burglary in Coarsegold.
In custody are 24-year-old Abel Ramos of Madera and 28-year-old Mario Estevan Valdez, also from Madera. Just before 4 a.m., a Valley Deputy attempted to make a vehicle stop near Fairmead Blvd. and Avenue 22. Instead of yielding, the truck took off at a high rate of speed.
During the pursuit several shots (as many as 40) were fired from the truck. As the deputy called in for assistance, the truck suddenly veered into an orchard off Road 24 (located north of Avenue 20 ½) a scenario that immediately conjured up an eerie feeling of déjà vu.
On Dec. 4, 2003 a similar situation happened to another valley deputy who was also attempting to make a traffic stop. Instead of yielding for the Officer, the car sped off leading the deputy into an orchard. The car started to slow down, and then stopped. Then suddenly, one of the occupants inside the car opened fire on the deputy.
In this mornings pursuit, the deputy kept a safe distance from the vehicle, which worked its way through the orchard, finally barreling through a gate into a chicken farm. The occupants got away on foot leaving behind a truck loaded with stolen weapons, ammunition, sales receipts and a stockpile of camping gear, including a propane tank.
Miraculously, the Deputy was not harmed during the pursuit.
A team of detectives fanned out immediately and after discovering a key piece of evidence inside the truck, which led them to the Days Inn located on Avenue 16 near CA-99.
The investigation is still ongoing. Further information will be released when made available.