Suspect in brawl with teens in Atascadero found with stolen gun

February 2, 2022


A man spotted fighting with a group of juveniles in Atascadero was arrested Monday for possession of a stolen firearm.

Shortly after 4 p.m., a 911 caller reported an adult male and female had attacked a group of juveniles near Sunken Gardens. Another caller reported a person was injured in the brawl.

The fight dispersed and the participants fled the scene as officers responded to the area. Witnesses told officers the juveniles had fled towards Sunken Gardens while the adults left in a black Cadillac Escalade.

Officers stopped the Escalade near the intersection of El Camino Real and Traffic Way, while other officers viewed video footage of the the brawl. The video shows Eric Espinoza Melendez, 32, and a female assaulting at least two people, police said.

Melendez and the adult female were located inside the Escalade, along with ammunition and a loaded firearm, which had been stolen in Gilroy.

Officers booked Melendez in the San Luis Obispo County Jail on charges of possession of a concealed firearm and possession of stolen property. He has since been released from custody. The female was identified and released at the scene.

An investigation is ongoing and additional charges are anticipated.

Officers are asking anyone who witnessed the altercation to call the Atascadero Police Department at (805) 461-5051.

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He fought with kids, had a loaded stolen gun, and is out of jail? What is it you have to do to be kept off the street?

A stolen, loaded, concealed firearm? In the slammer for possessing a stolen firearm. This must be strictly, strictly, strictly, enforced so that nobody wants one.

“a stolen firearm”

Huh … if adults attack juveniles isn’t that child abuse or assault and battery on a minor .I don’t understand why LEO is only arresting criminals for the lightest charges possible .The adult female was released HUH she is an adult attacking minors .In my opinion the adults are gang members but not being charged with a gang enhancement for participating in a crime for furtherance of a crimunal street gang .LEO releasing the female thinking she will roll over on her fellow gang member in court , won’t happen she will keep her mouth shut or the gang will shut it for her …I don’t understand what is going on these days with the legal system …Why even arrest anybody if all they get is a fine that the criminal will never pay