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Arrest made in last week's shooting

WORTHINGTON -- A suspect wanted in connection with last weekend's shooting on Sherwood Street in Worthington has been taken into custody in California, according to the Worthington Police Department.

Ulises Mendez, 20, of Worthington, was arrested after exiting a bus in Los Angeles, California.

"We are very grateful for the assistance of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, other law enforcement agencies and especially the Los Angeles Police Department for making Mendez's arrest a priority," said Worthington Public Safety Director Mike Cumiskey via e-mail. "We are elated to get Mendez off the street and locked up to face justice. Technology has made our country much smaller and we are glad the city council and Worthington taxpayers have allowed us to be innovative in crime prevention, crime deterrence and crime solution."

Charges were filed against Mendez in Nobles County District Court Thursday, but the document was sealed until his capture was secured. He is charged with eight felonies -- attempted murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the second degree, dangerous weapon-drive by shooting-occupied target, two counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, attempted second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, second-degree riot and reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality-dangerous weapon.

According to the criminal complaint, dispatch was informed of a shooting at 2:33 a.m. Jan. 9 in the 1500 block of Sherwood Street. At approximately the same time, a vehicle containing several screaming women approached a Worthington Police officer on 12th Street. One of the women said she lived on Sherwood Street and that someone was shooting at her house.

The officer went to her address and found a woman on the front steps. As he exited his squad car, he found two .22 caliber shell casings on the ground. After verifying the suspects had left, he secured the residence.

Other officers were asked to the Castlewood Apartments on Cecilee Street, where the incident was said to have started. A police sergeant arriving at the Sherwood Street scene found more shell casings. He spoke with the woman who had been in front of the house, who allegedly identified the shooter as Mendez.

Described as 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing approximately 145 pounds, Mendez is a Hispanic male with black hair and brown eyes. It's the tattoos that get attention. He has dog paw prints on both temples, a letter B on one cheek and writing on his other cheek and neck.

The sergeant was informed there was someone at the hospital with a gunshot wound and sent another officer to obtain statements.

The victim identified Mendez as being involved in the shooting, and said he had left the scene in a maroon Chevrolet Impala.

According to various statements taken by authorities, a group of people had left the Long Branch Saloon and headed to a party at the Castlewood Apartments, arriving around 1 a.m.

Another woman was already at the party, as was Mendez, who some referred to as Flaco.

Mendez's brother allegedly told the woman that Mendez had stolen her cell phone and called people with it, so she confronted him.

Another man didn't like the way Mendez spoke to the woman, so he allegedly punched Mendez in the face, which led to a scuffle of alleged hitting and punching among several people.

At some point during that scuffle, Mendez allegedly tried to hit the woman with a vodka bottle, but another male took it away from Mendez, then grabbed a second bottle Mendez had grabbed to throw at a different person and threw it in a snow bank outside the apartment.

Some of the party-goers went back to the Sherwood Street residence.

Another group of friends were at Perkins when the woman Mendez had attacked with a bottle called them. Concerned for her safety, they went to pick her up on Sherwood Street.

As they waited for one girl's boyfriend to arrive, the woman told them what had happened, according to one person who was in the car.

Witness accounts state there were up to six people in the car that drove up to them, and several got out.

Those waiting in the first car were able to identify Mendez and described the long gun with a curved clip.

When the Impala drove up, the driver of the first car hit the gas to leave.

In the backseat, the victim of the shooting ducked her head down, she told an officer later, but was shot in her thigh.

Her injuries are non-life threatening.

Several others in the car have been tentatively identified, and according to Cumiskey, law enforcement in looking into charging others in the incident.

During the investigation, an empty vodka bottle was found where a man said he had taken it from Mendez and thrown it, and officers located 21 expended .22 shell casings.