Local

Widow crying foul over Fresno Police shooting

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The widow of man killed by a Fresno police officer says her husband may not have been a perfect man, but she's crying foul over the police version of why they shot him.

The shooting happened Tuesday in east central Fresno. Police say 30-year-old Manuel Armenta was armed with a sharpened screwdriver and threatened the officer.

The shooting seems to be leading Armenta's wife to a wrongful death lawsuit. Fiona Raygoza admits her husband was no angel, but she's getting ready for a legal fight over how he was killed.

Raygoza has no pictures of the man she married two years ago, just a tattoo of his nickname "Manny" as a permanent reminder. The one picture of Manuel Armenta she'll be left with is this one -- a mugshot Fresno police released after his death. It does show his matching tattoo bearing her name on his neck, but she's not about to thank officers for the memories.

"I'm pregnant and the baby's never going to know his father," Raygoza said. "I'm really upset with the cops that they're going to shoot him five times because he had a screwdriver."

Police Chief Jerry Dyer says a frightened motorist first reported Armenta on Tuesday for trying to get in her car. An officer confronted the suspect a little while later.

"The officer described that the screwdriver was in his hand in front of him as he advanced the officer in this fashion," Dyer said.

Armenta had a history of criminal activity and domestic violence issues -- even Raygoza asked for a restraining order against him at one point. And she admits he was using meth in the days before his death. But she doesn't believe what police are saying about his demeanor when the officer approached.

"He's always cooperative with the cops because he does not want to go back to jail or prison," Raygoza said. "So, whenever we get stopped by the cops, he's always, 'Yes sir. No sir. OK.'"

A few people who say they witnessed the confrontation seemed to support Raygoza's claim in interviews with Action News. One said his hands were up when the officer first tazed him, before shooting him. Another says Armenta wasn't a threat to the officer.

"After he got tazed, he fell down and then when he went down, he started shooting him," said Vicki Francis. "So he didn't have to shoot him. Once he was down, he didn't have to shoot him."

Raygoza took her complaints to an attorney Friday, retaining Gerald Schwab at Miller & Ayala. She says she wants nothing but justice for her husband.

Coroners did an autopsy on Armenta, but they won't release the results until they get a toxicology report done.

Chief Dyer told Action News Friday he sends his condolences to Raygoza and says he's willing to meet with her if she wants to talk.

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

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Tags:
crimetracker, officer involved shooting, shooting, fresno police department, jerry dyer, local, corin hoggard
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