Fowler farmer shot, accused of assault
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fowler farmer accused of pointing his gun at a Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy took the stand in his own defense Thursday.
65-year-old Donnie Srabian was not an imposing figure on the witness stand. Not until he put on the ski mask Deputy Frank Harper says Srabian wore on the dark night of their confrontation in Feb. 2007.
Srabian came out of his family's Fowler home armed with a semi-automatic handgun. The raisin farmer says he had no idea a sheriff's deputy was on his property. He just knew he wasn't expecting anybody, but someone was there.
"It doesn't make sense that Mr. Srabian would come out and point a gun at an officer if he knew it was an officer," said defense attorney Sal Sciandra.
Deputy Harper was responding to a 911 hang-up, which the phone company now believes was just a malfunctioning phone. He testified that he saw someone rush out of the house wearing a ski mask and holding a gun.
Harper thought he'd interrupted a home invasion. He says Srabian ran towards his squad car, got into a crouch, and aimed the gun at him. The deputy opened fire and hit Srabian in the abdomen.
But Srabian says he doesn't remember putting the ski mask on and the gun never left his side. His attorney says his client was just protecting his property.
"It's one thing if you're in the middle of town and somebody knocks on your front door and you open up and point a gun at them," said Sciandra. "It's another thing if you're on a farm property where there's a history of thefts and a high crime area."
Prosecutors argue Srabian knew it was a sheriff's deputy on his property. He faces four charges, including assault on a peace officer.
He could face as much as nine years in prison. He's also filed a civil rights lawsuit against Deputy Harper and the sheriff's department.
crimetracker, court, fowler, fresno county, shooting, local, corin hoggard
- Teen who was shot at Colorado school dies 6 min ago
- USC routs No. 21 Fresno St 45-20 in Las Vegas Bowl 15 min ago
- Madera family files claim against city of Los Angeles
- Judge orders hospital to keep teen on support
- Fresno Poverello House in need of toys for kids
- Fresno State program gets students interested in STEM classes
- Parlier students get iPad Airs
- Ryann Jones found guilty of second degree murder
- Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Chance for 'Dogs to break bowl...
- Fire burns Three Rivers landmark
- Valley stores open extra hour for holiday rush
- Senator Harry Reid in hospital for observation
- Man charged in Elbow Room fight pleads not guilty
- Obama: 2014 can be breakthrough year for US
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos