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Merced Officer Involved Shooting Print E-mail
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Written by B|V|N Newsroom   
Thursday, 26 April 2012 11:29

MERCED - Police Detectives were traveling behind a vehicle (2007, Saturn, Ion) that had a Department of Justice (DOJ) notification to stop the vehicle as it was listed as being involved in a felony carjacking and vehicle theft crime in Stanislaus County. Detectives following the vehicle obtained conformation information through their police dispatcher of the DOJ stop on the vehicle.

Detectives activated the emergency lights and siren of their patrol vehicle to stop the suspect, but instead of stopping, the suspect increased the speed of the vehicle, trying to elude the police. Subsequently while traveling east bound in the 1400 Block of W/N Bear Creek, the suspect lost control of the car and collided into the front of a UC Merced commuter bus that was travelling west bound in the 1400 Block of Bear Creek Drive.


Two detectives existed their patrol vehicles to make contact the suspect and check on others involved in the collision. It was at this time that the suspect accelerated the car backwards towards the officers, in an attempt to assault the officers with the car. Both detectives believed that their lives were in danger as the suspect was trying to run them over with the vehicle, prompting the officers to fire their handguns at the suspect to stop the assault. The threat of assault was stopped by the detectives firing their handguns at the suspect, wounding the suspect.

Merced City Fire personnel and paramedics arrived at the crime scene and administered medical assistance to the suspect. The suspect was later medi-flighted to a regional hospital for further medical treatment. Hospital staff informed police that the suspect’s condition is stable and he is expected to fully recover from his injuries. Charges will be filed against the suspect for aggravated assault on a peace officer.

The passengers on the UC Merced bus were not injured, only the bus driver had a complaint of pain which resulted from the collision. Paramedics checked the bus driver for injuries. The California Highway Patrol investigated the collision and Merced Police Detectives investigated the officer involved shooting incident. This case is still under investigation at this time. Officers involved in this shooting incident will be on administrative leave as a matter of standard procedure during this ongoing investigation.

Merced Police Department Detectives were able to identify Michael Chase Stafford as the suspect in the officer involved shooting. Stafford is a resident of Stanislaus County and is currently listed as a parolee out of Stanislaus County. He is currently on parole for auto theft, possession of a controlled substance and for identity theft. Stafford has a history of arrests for narcotics and fraud violations. He also has been arrested for auto theft and for evading police officers, dating back to the year of 2003.

During the month of March of 2012, Stafford was investigated by the Merced Police Department for attempting to cash a stolen check. A Ramey Warrant was issued for his arrest for the check violation, which will be served as an additional booking charge upon his release from the hospital. Stafford is also listed as a suspect in a carjacking and vehicle theft incident that occurred in Stanislaus County on January 19, 2012. He is accused of beating up his girlfriend and stealing her car. This case is being investigated by Stanislaus County Sheriff Investigators.

Stafford is scheduled to be released from the hospital today. Merced Police Detectives will transport Stafford from the hospital to the Merced County Jail to book him on the above listed charges. Once Stafford is booked at the jail, his booking photo can be obtained from the Merced
County Jail booking facility.

Police Detectives are asking anyone with any information regarding this incident to contact Detective Sergeant Skinner at (209) 385-4702 or (209) 385-4702, or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at (209) 385-4725.


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