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YouTube video surfaces in Sanger undercover drug sting

Friday, March 16, 2012

The shooting happened Thursday just before six o'clock in Sanger - outside the McDonald's on Academy near Church.

Fresno Police say they were attempting to do a drug deal when one of the dealers pulled out a gun.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office is investigating. They spent all night interviewing 80 witnesses who were in the immediate area during the chaotic scene.

Video taken by a witness and posted on YouTube shows the shooting as it unfolded. And crowds of people rushing into McDonald's to escape the violence.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says the drug deal was initially planned to take place in an area, near the restaurant that wasn't as busy. "What I understand about the incident is the intention was to use the empty Save Mart store parking lot however, however the suspect kind of drove the location after that and it ended up being the crowded McDonald's restaurant."

Investigators have the tedious task of interviewing everyone who saw the shooting, that's 80 people. Including the Fresno Police officers who fired after they say the passenger in the car displayed a gun.

Investigators say it remains a mystery why the suspect showed undercover officers his weapon before getting out of the car and running away.

Detectives do not know if he was attempting to cheat the officers or may have discovered their true identity.

"In this case, the suspect made a bad choice," said Sheriff Mims. "He got out of the vehicle, he was in fact armed and the officers feared for their own safety and took action."

Sheriff Mims says the drug deal was a significant buy. The methamphetamine the suspects had was worth $15 thousand dollars.

The suspect who was killed lived in Sanger, but so far, investigators have not been able to make a positive identification.

Three officers who fired their guns are now on paid administrative leave. Two other suspects, who were also in the car, are in jail, one is a juvenile.

The sheriff also says Fresno Police followed proper procedure by notifying Sanger Police hours before the operation.

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Tags:
crimetracker, drug bust, officer involved shooting, shooting, sanger, fresno, clovis, fresno county, local, sontaya rose
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