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Coroner: Toxicology reports may help explain Fresno murder-suicide

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Coroners have finalized their reports on the Fresno neighbors whose fight over a dog led to a deadly showdown.

Toxicology reports show alcohol may have played a role in the murder-suicide.

According to the report, 74-year-old Dan Andersen had a large amount of alcohol in his system when he killed himself -- several minutes after police say he shot and killed his neighbor, Franko Cardoza.

Coroners performed the initial autopsies two weeks ago and determined how each man died.

Both suffered gunshot wounds to the head.

But they needed more time for toxicology reports to try to understand how the showdown became so volatile.

Andersen ended his own life in a parking lot right near River Park.

Police were closing in on the 74-year-old as the suspect in the murder of his next-door neighbor in a northwest Fresno condo complex just minutes earlier.

Coroners later determined Cardoza's body was riddled with bullets.

"Mr. Cardoza was shot multiple times, over a half dozen times, and as a result of these multiple gunshot wounds, he expired," said the Fresno County coroner, Dr. David Hadden.

Cardoza and Andersen had a history of fights over a common fence.

Police investigators say Andersen gave them their first clues as to what led to the deadly confrontation.

He left his wife a voice message saying their dog, Buddy, had wandered onto the other side of the fence on that night in March.

He said Cardoza had kicked Buddy.

The ensuing fight between the two men escalated into the deadly shooting.

The next clue as to why the situation became so heated comes from coroners.

Their toxicology report shows Andersen's blood alcohol content at the time of his death at 0.17, more than twice the legal limit for drivers.

Dr. Hadden said the heavy use of alcohol could partially explain why Andersen took his own life.

"Mr. Andersen was a suicide and approximately half of our suicides are drunk or under the influence," he said.

Coroners can't tell for sure if Andersen drank before or after the shooting, but police know he drove away from the scene of the murder to the river park area.

Managers at a River Park restaurant told Action News he asked for a drink, but they refused because he was covered in blood.

Minutes later, police arrived, and Andersen killed himself, taking with him any explanations except for what coroners have now discovered.

Andersen had no drugs in his system, just the alcohol. Cardoza had no drugs or alcohol in his system.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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fresno, fresno county, homicide, crimetracker, murder-suicide, local, corin hoggard
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