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Police crackdown on increased gang violence in Southwest Fresno

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fresno police are looking to lock up violent gang members. The violence and weapons on the street now are reminiscent of high crime in the mid-90's. A double shooting launched a much larger investigation as police tie several gangs into recent violence in one specific part of Fresno.

The latest shooting happened on Fruit and Hawes in southwest Fresno Friday afternoon. Police took several suspects to headquarters for interviews. At least one man was arrested. And they say the shooting is tied to another shooting from Thursday. Investigators are seeing a lot of this as gang factions continue their rivalries.

Police say Friday's is the sixth shooting in southwest Fresno in just three weeks.

"In the mid-90's I saw violence pretty consistent with what I see today, in terms of the actual numbers of persons out on the streets with firearms," said Sgt. Paul Cervantes. "There are a number of factors that attribute to that." The biggest of which, he says, is early jail and prison release.

Sgt. Cervantes heads the metro gang unit known as MAGEC. "In this week alone, just this area and just this team, we're talking maybe 6-7 firearms recovered," he said.

Friday his crew responded to a call where two men were shot in their legs. The victims were driven to the hospital by friends or relatives. We're told they will survive their injuries.

Police found evidence that more than a dozen rounds were fired from at least three guns. Authorities believe this shooting is tied to a shooting around the same area Thursday night.

Shortly after Friday's incident investigators in a CHP helicopter spotted a gray Toyota Camry, matching the description of a car speeding away from the crime scene.

"Within minutes officers arrived and detained these individuals," Cervantes said. "A preliminary inspection of the vehicle revealed a loaded .45 caliber firearm."

The gun was found sitting on the floorboard in the backseat of the Camry, just beneath a child's safety seat. Five men were detained for questioning. Police arrested 23-year-old Martin Gonzalez for driving with a loaded gun.

Gang investigators got a search warrant and went into Gonzalez's home. They also searched his sister's house, just around the corner. Police say they found at least two hand guns and a shotgun.

The victims in Friday's shooting were not cooperative with detectives, according to police. They also say they're now seeing neighbors and witnesses interfere with evidence, like picking up bullet casings, at crime scenes.

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Tags:
fresno, fresno southwest, shooting, gang, local, rick montanez
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