By RICHARD PALOMA
A local transient, wanted for the attempted murder of a Sonora woman, was arrested Wednesday night by Sonora Police after a manhunt by at least three police agencies since Monday, Feb. 8.
Earlier in the week, Sonora Police were looking for a 37-year-old transient known to stay in Oakdale, wanted in connection with the attempted homicide in their town.
Police officials stated that Michael Pierce, 37, was involved in a heated argument with two females near the Lowe’s parking lot in Sonora on Monday morning Feb. 8.
The victims reported to police that Pierce punched one victim in the mouth, then threw her against a tree and punched her in the stomach several times. The second female victim came to the aid of the first victim and grabbed Pierce. During the struggle Pierce grasped the second victim by the neck and began strangling her.
A witness observed the attack and intervened by grabbing Pierce, which allowed the female victims to flee the area. According to police, Pierce told the person who stopped the attack he intended to kill both the female victims.
Both victims sustained visible injuries, but refused medical attention when they were located by officers.
Officers from the Sonora Police Department and deputies from the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department searched the area for Pierce but were not able to locate him. Oakdale Police were alerted when the investigation revealed Pierce, who goes by the street name of “Maverick” was known to also frequent Oakdale.
Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson said Pierce is homeless and travels in and out of the county.
Oakdale Police Detective Sergeant Joe Johnson said Pierce had been involved in a high speed pursuit in the afternoon on Wednesday, Feb. 3 while driving a silver pickup truck. Oakdale officers had stopped Pierce and he fled after turning over his identification during the traffic stop. During the subsequent chase, speeds reached up to 90 mph and the pursuit was terminated for safety concerns.
Sonora Police stated that Pierce was located and arrested by Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday night, Feb. 10.
Tuolumne Sheriff’s Sergeant Deborah Moss stated their department received an anonymous tip around 6:30 p.m. from a citizen that led deputies to the Chapel in the Pines Church on Cherokee Drive in Twain Harte.
The citizen reported seeing Pierce at the church and knew he was wanted by Sonora Police on attempted homicide charges. Sheriff’s deputies and K-9 Hans responded to the church and took Pierce into custody without incident.
Pierce was booked into the Tuolumne County Jail where he is being held on $510,000 bail for the charges of attempted homicide and a felony warrant for weapons and drug paraphernalia charges.