A suspect struck a liquor store employee over the head with a bottle when the victim tried to stop the man from stealing merchandise, San Diego County Sheriff's officials said.
At about 2:40 p.m. Tuesday, deputies found a man lying in the road with head trauma near the Fallbrook Liquor store, which sits at 1051 S. Main Street in unincorporated Fallbrook.
The man, a store employee, ran out to stop two suspects who were stealing bottles of liquor, witnesses told deputies.
When he caught up to them, one suspect turned and hit him in the head with one of the bottles. The store employee was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Witnesses reported then seeing the suspect drop the bottle, jump into a black sedan and escape the scene.
The suspect vehicle was spotted by deputies in Vista, who tracked it to Oceanside. There, deputies conducted a hot stop and detained three men, ages 18, 19 and 26.
Deputies say they found evidence from the liquor store in the car, and witnesses identified all three suspects and the vehicle as those involved in the crime.
The 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. The other two were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy.
The investigation is ongoing.