FRESNO – Two men have been arrested for allegedly shooting an off-duty deputy while he was riding his bike earlier this week.
Christopher Touchstone, 23, and Larry McLaughlin, 26, were arrested on Thursday in connection with shooting Deputy Mike Montanez in the back on Tuesday afternoon in what Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims called a crime of opportunity.
The shooting happened around 1 p.m. on Tuesday as Montanez was riding his bicycle by himself on Friant Road. Montanez suddenly felt a sharp pain in his back and fell off his bike. From the ground, he noticed someone in a vehicle that had just passed by pull what looked like a long weapon back inside the window.
It turns out Montanez was shot by a 22-caliber air rifle. The pellet lodged in his back from the rifle came dangerously close to his spine.
An anonymous caller informed sheriff’s deputies that McLaughlin was involved in the shooting and had just bought a bus ticket to Louisiana. The caller also identified Touchstone as being involved, Mims said.
Deputies were able to arrest the two men without incident. Touchstone has several prior arrests, but McLoughlin has a minimal criminal history, according to Mims. Both men are facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon.
Mims said that Deputy Montanez was not a specific target in the shooting; rather, he was the victim of a random crime the men did on a dare or just for fun, she said.