A Superior Court jury deliberated less than an hour on Monday before finding a Fresno man guilty of pointing a gun at a woman who came out to help him after he crashed into her garage in September 2015.
George Maldonado, 27, was found guilty of assault with a firearm, being a felon in possession of firearms and possession of cocaine and methamphetamine. At the time of the incident he was on parole for a 2009 conviction of assault with firearm, prosecutor Andrew Janz said.
Maldonado faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 13.
Today we took a dangerous criminal off our streets.
Prosecutor Andrew Janz
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Police say Maldonado is a member of the Calwa Varrio Loco street gang.
During the trial, Janz told the jury that Maldonado drove into a garage near Clinton and Delno avenues in central Fresno shortly before 2 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2015. A woman who lived in the home heard the crash and went outside to see if the driver was all right. Instead of accepting the woman’s help, Janz said, Maldonado pointed a handgun at her chest and uttered; “I gotta go.” Once Maldonado ran, the woman called 9-1-1.
A police helicopter located Maldonado hiding in the backyard of a home on the 700 block of West Terrace Avenue. When he refused to surrender, officers unleashed a police dog named Laci, who grabbed Maldonado as he tried to jump a fence, Janz told the jury.
A police helicopter located Maldonado hiding in the backyard of a home on West Terrace Avenue in Fresno on Sept. 9, 2015.
Officers later found a gun that Maldonado had hidden on top of an awning, Janz said.
Officers also searched Maldonado’s room at his mother’s home and discovered cocaine, methamphetamine and a scale, and a rifle under his bed. They also found ammunition that matched the bullets in the handgun that officers found on the awning, Janz said.
After the verdict, Janz thanked the jury and said: “Today we took a dangerous criminal off our streets. We hope this sends a strong message to criminals that if you use a gun to commit a crime in Fresno County, you will go to prison for a long time.”