By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Second search yields gun used in shooting
Placeholder Image
The two Escalon police cases that evolved Friday night and early Saturday morning have had something of a surprise twist – involving a Glock semi-automatic hand gun.

The first disturbance erupted after a car burglary at the Bass Pro Shops parking lot about 9:30 p.m. where the victims chased the alleged robbers down Union Road to Woodward Avenue, to Austin Road, to Highway 120 and east to Escalon where officers finally caught up with them.

During the chase the suspects allegedly fired up to six shots at the pursuing vehicle missing their target.  After Manteca officers and a police dog arrested two of three they believed that the one who got away probably had the gun in his possession.

Officers from five departments searched nearby corn fields until shortly after midnight when they called in the perimeter and went back to their own beats.

At 1 a.m. Saturday an Escalon officer made a traffic stop after receiving a call of a reckless driver. When he tried to handcuff the suspect a struggle ensued and the officer was reportedly struck on the top of the head and suffered torn ligaments in his leg making him unable to run after the motorist.

Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker confirmed Monday afternoon that during the three hour search for the Manteca man, who police allege beat the Escalon officer,  they happened on a discarded weapon.

Manteca graveyard patrolman Jason May located a Glock semi-automatic hand gun laying in the dirt on the edge of an irrigation canal.  Bricker said he cannot be 100 percent certain that the gun they found was the one used to fire at the burglary victims, but he noted it looks pretty certain.

“We were bound to find it,” Bricker said.  “We searched half of the corn fields in South San Joaquin County that night looking for the suspects.”

Had not the Escalon officer not put out the “officer needs help” call, police would probably not have located the firearm.  It brought them back to the scene after they had already searched fields near McHenry and Highway 120.

Escalon Police Chief Jim Shaw said the assault suspect covered some seven miles in his attempt to elude police ending up near Highway 120 and Jack Tone Road where Manteca officer Eddie Cardenas located him with his infrared night vision system out in a field.

The suspect Joshua Watkins, of Manteca, will be booked in San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp once he is released from county hospital for injuries he sustained in the series of incidents.  The Escalon officer was treated and released at Oak Valley Hospital in Oakdale where he had been transported by ambulance.