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Vagrant attacks Manteca officer
Car wash fistfight injures officer, suspect
Patrol-officerDSC 6893-LT
A Manteca Police officer was attacked Wednesday night at the Showtime Express Car Wash on East Yosemite Avenue. - photo by GLENN KAHL

A Manteca Police officer was injured Wednesday night when a seemingly routine stop of two vagrants in the parking lot of a car wash on East Yosemite Avenue turned violent. 

Shortly after 9:15 p.m. Manteca Police officers responded to a call for backup when Officer Ben Cromwell was attacked and found himself in a fistfight with one of the two suspects alongside the Showtime Express Car Wash directly across the street from the In-Shape Sports Club. 

When officers arrived they took one of the two men into custody. The other was taken via ambulance to San Joaquin General Hospital with undisclosed injuries. 

Cromwell was able to walk out to a waiting patrol car and was taken to Doctors Hospital of Manteca to be examined by medical professionals. He was not wearing his duty shirt when he left. 

An officer in distress call, which typically draws a response from neighboring agencies that may be close enough to render assistance, was not made.

Officers on scene – which included the Manteca gang unit – gathered the items of clothing that the suspect was wearing for evidence and placed them into paper bags that they carried out after the scene was secured.

The Manteca District Ambulance company used solvent and water from a Manteca Fire Department engine to wash the blood from the altercation into a nearby drain. Spotlights from the fire truck helped officers search the area. 

Last week a man wearing a hoodie carrying a gun robbed the In-Shape across the street from where Cromwell stopped the two vagrants.