Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said investigators believe one of his officers was the target of gunfire early Monday in southeast Fresno while he was taking part in a citywide operation targeting violent criminals. Dyer said it appears his car was struck twice by bullets and one round may have grazed the officer’s forehead.
Dyer called a news conference Monday afternoon to provide updated details about the incident. Earlier in the day, police reported that investigators were not certain what type of projectile caused damage to the officer’s windshield. But the chief said detectives later discovered another apparent bullet strike to the fender of the car, along with bullet fragments, as well as another bullet strike on the plastic slats of a nearby chain-link fence. A tire on the car also went flat later in the day, possibly due to a bullet fragment.
The gunfire broke out in an alley near Fifth Street and Liberty Avenue about 1:21 a.m. Dyer said the officer was working the special operation when the 18-year veteran spotted three people enter an alley between Liberty and adjacent Lowe Avenue and decided to investigate. As the officer drove into the alley, he heard three pops that he believed to be shots fired from a small caliber gun. The windows on the marked patrol vehicle were down and the officer also felt something graze the left side of his forehead and he bent down to protect himself, striking his head on the vehicle’s computer. The officer then accelerated south on Fifth while calling for backup and directing officers to set up a perimeter around the alley.
Our officers are very determined to stop gang violence in the city. They are even more determined now.
Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer
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The chief said the officer, an avid sportsman familiar with firearms, described the sound of the gunfire as coming from a small-caliber weapon such as a .380 or a .22 caliber gun.
About 90 officers, most involved in the special operation, responded to the report of gunfire. Dyer said several people were questioned, but there were no arrests. Dyer said officers continued to canvass the area, talking to residents and looking at video.
Dyer said the officer who was fired on showed professionalism in remaining calm on the radio while under fire and was in “good spirits” later in the day. Dyer also said his officers would not be deterred by the incident and would redouble efforts in the special operation.
“Our officers are very determined to stop gang violence in the city.” he said. “They are even more determined now.”
Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 559-498-STOP.