One man is dead and several suspects are being hunted after gunfire rang out on Blackstone Avenue at Saginaw Way in central Fresno just before 2 p.m. Thursday.
Lt. Joe Gomez said the violence erupted when a black man in his 20s drove through a Jiffy Lube at Saginaw Way and was confronted by three young black men. At least two of them pulled handguns and began shooting at his blue Honda Accord.
The victim tried to drive away north on Blackstone Avenue with the men in pursuit, still firing. But he lost control of the car and veered into the southbound lanes of Blackstone. He crashed into a white Smart Car and came to a stop on the northwest corner of Blackstone and Griffith Way.
The victim was identified Friday as Barkete Shita, 25, of Fresno, according to the Fresno County Coroner.
Shita was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center, where he died of multiple gunshot wounds. A woman in the Smart Car also sustained a leg injury in the collision.
The gunmen ran west on Griffith. Three men were detained about an hour after the shooting, but police had not determined whether they were involved.
The neighborhood around Pontiac Way and Effie Street, tucked between Blackstone and Highway 41 and just north of Dakota Avenue, has been the scene of multiple violent shootings in recent years. Police believe southwest Fresno gang members have established a base there and rivals frequently confront them in the area. Gomez said he could not say if Thursday’s murder was gang-related but conceded it was very possible that it was.
Blackstone was shut down between Ashlan and Dakota avenues during the investigation.