MERCED, CA – An investigation is still underway into the death a 29-year-old man who was arrested and booked into the John Latorraca Correctional Facility on Sept., 19th at 12:43 am. The victim has been identified as Alejandro Vega of Merced. Mr. Vega had been booked on two city warrants. One was a $20,000 warrant for possession of one pound of marijuana and another was a child custody warrant with a bail amount of $5,000. According to Sgt. Delray Shelton of the Merced County Sheriff’s department the inmate had just completed his preliminary booking and was placed into a section of the jail where the inmates wait to be classified. According to Sgt. Shelton, the jails correctional officers heard a lot of commotion and went to check it out. That is when the deputies found Mr. Vega who had been severely beaten.
No video cameras were in that section of the jail, according to Sgt. Shelton, due to inmate privacy suits that have been filed in other counties. “Because this is an area where inmates get dressed and use the restroom we are not allowed to place cameras there,” Sgt Shelton confirmed.
Mr. Vega was transported to Doctors Medical Center where he was placed on life support. His current condition is unknown.
“The jails administrators are looking into this tragic event,” said Sgt. Shelton. “A full investigation has been launched to determine exactly what happened and who was the person that assaulted Mr. Vega. We will also look at protocol to ensure that all policies and procedures were followed correctly and correct any that were not.”
According to Mr. Vega’s family and friends he was a good man who people knew and trusted and that he had a good heart and was always willing to lend a helping hand when needed.
Deputy Shelton also stated that more information will be forthcoming as the investigation is completed.