Police say suspect in Southeast Fresno shooting ambushed officers
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The three officers that were injured in a shootout in Southeast Fresno Tuesday are out of the hospital and still recovering. But now the investigation begins into what appears to be a staged attack on law enforcement.
Someone called in a tip to police telling officers where wanted felon Jerry Vue had been hiding. Authorities had been looking for Vue for more than a year and sent in a specific task force to go after him.
Someone told detectives that Vue, wanted for kidnapping, rape and torture, was in an apartment complex in Southeast Fresno. A group of officers trained to go after violent criminals descended on that complex.
"One of the officers did in fact see Jerry Vue standing in the driveway, Vue looked in the officer's direction, unknown if he knew there were officers outside," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
Vue's nephew, standing with two kids, told officers that his uncle wasn't home. The officers started searching when Vue jumped out from under a pile of clothes. Dyer said the officers appeared right where Vue wanted them.
"He clearly and demonstrated his intent to not be taken alive by firing at officers, ambushing officers and being involved in a running gun battle against officers," Dyer said.
What happened next was an exchange of gun fire. A bullet proof vest saved parole agent Nate Castro's life. A U.S. Marshal was shot near the stomach and returned fire at the same time. Sheriff's deputy Robert McEwen was hit by shrapnel.
"There were multiple rounds fired, this was a war that went on between those two gentleman, luckily our deputy won and the bad guy didn't, but it could have very easily gone the other way," U.S. Marshal Albert Najera said.
Vue eventually fell and was pronounced dead and armed with a handgun. In his apartment were more guns, lots of ammunition and five pounds of marijuana. Vue was, according to federal agents a man that was good at not getting caught.
"This guy was a bad guy everyone was afraid of Jerry Vue," Najera said.
All three officers are still being interviewed and still need to provide their own accounts of what happened. Vue's criminal history started in 2011, when he was charged with domestic violence against his wife.
Police say they had no other interactions with him, and no evidence of him having connections to any gangs. He was attending a batterer's treatment program for a few months, and his attorney said he thought Vue and his wife were working everything out.
"He was a happy guy. Every time I'd meet with him, he'd talk about his kids. He had young daughters. He worked at the SPCA and was always talking about animals and rescuing animals. Seems totally out of character," Defense Attorney Brian Andritch said.
Andritch said he was shocked to hear about a second domestic violence incident, an alleged kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, and rape in July of last year. He never heard from his client again. Vue went into hiding and stayed underground until Tuesday.
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