Madera police Wednesday announced the arrest of the suspected gunman who opened fire on a officer and a woman in his patrol vehicle early Sunday.
Also arrested was a woman who was in the suspect’s car. Police Chief Steve Frazier said the apprehension of a third suspect is imminent.
In custody are Thomas Garcia, 33, and Serena Arroyo, 26, Madera police said Wednesday. They were arrested Tuesday afternoon by a fugitive task force composed of Fresno police, Fresno County sheriff’s deputies and U.S. marshals. Still at large is James Cruz, 42.
“The officers that serve the city of Madera stepped up,” said Frazier, who also praised the task force. Those arrested face charges that include attempted murder.
The incident occurred at 4:30 a.m. Sunday when the officer tried to pull over a white Mazda SUV on Howard Road at Schnoor Avenue. A pursuit ensued, and when the Mazda turned onto Lighthouse Drive, the front passenger pointed a gun out the window and fired 14 times at the patrol car, striking the windshield twice and flattening a rear tire. The officer broke off the pursuit, and the Mazda was later found abandoned. Police found a AR15-style handgun and other evidence in the car.
The officer, identified Wednesday as Julian Garcia, was uninjured. The woman, identified as Yesica Valencia, who was riding with the officer as a member of the department’s citizens academy, received minor cuts from flying glass. A stray bullet also went into the bedroom of a nearby home.
Frazier said that Garcia and Cruz are Fresno Bulldog gang members and that Garcia has an extensive criminal history with charges that include assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest. Frazier said the three were headed to Table Mountain Casino in the Mazda, which was stolen in Fresno earlier this month. They were high on methamphetamine and apparently became lost a short time before the attempted traffic stop.
Frazier said that police do not know why the gunman opened fire on the patrol car.
“There is no motive for the shooting. They just didn’t want to be stopped,” he said.