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Deputies Fire on Vandalism Suspects

Men may be involved with at least six other incidents of vandalism.

Posted: February 28, 2008 4:24 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2008 5:03 a.m.
Sheriff's deputies opened fire on and arrested three Canyon Country men after observing one of them vandalizing a wall, five days after another deputy-involved shooting. There were no reported injuries.

Gregorio Prial, Jesse James Prasch, and Anthony Mercado, all 21, were arrested at about 11 p.m. Wednesday for their involvement in spray-painting graffiti on a building wall in the 18500 block of Soledad Canyon Road at Sierra Highway in Canyon Country.

Deputies reportedly observed Prial spray painting graffiti on a wall.

As they approached him, a vehicle with Prasch and Mercado inside reportedly pulled up to the area and stopped. Prial reportedly ran toward the vehicle and jumped into the right front passenger seat. The deputies reportedly approached the vehicle and ordered the three men not to move except to show their hands.

Prasch and Mercado apparently followed the deputies' instructions, while Prial reportedly reached under his seat. With his passenger-side door still open, the deputies witnessed Prial reaching and fired a shot at him.

The shot missed Prial, and struck the car's door paneling. All three men immediately complied with the deputies' subsequent order to get out of the vehicle and were arrested.

Upon inspecting the vehicle, deputies recovered an unspecified object from under the passenger-side seat. However, it was reportedly not a handgun as they initially suspected.

Prial was also on felony parole at the time of the arrest and was held without bail. Prasch and Mercado were held in lieu of $20,000 bail each. All three men were booked on felony vandalism charges.

Deputies later determined that the three men may be responsible for at least six other incidents of vandalism in Canyon Country, specifically between Solamint and Galeton roads.

Wednesday's incident marks the second local deputy-involved shooting in less than a week. On Friday night, two deputies fired several shots at fleeing suspects from the scene of a fight in Canyon Country, after one of the men brandished a shiny object.

Sheriff's Sgt. Darren Harris said earlier this week that whenever deputies are involved in a shooting where someone is not hit, the deputies have the option of taking five days of administrative duty, but are not required to as in the case of injury-involved or fatal shootings.


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