It was a case of a man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Fresno police say Dennis Horstmeier was simply returning from an early morning trip to the store when he was stabbed to death by a man angry that his family didn’t give him money for methamphetamine.
The stabbing happened about 2 a.m. Saturday near Floradora Avenue and Thesta Street in central Fresno. Police said William Gideons, 25, had been arguing with his fiancee and assaulted his mother-in-law before he stormed out of a home, encountered Horstmeier, 48, and stabbed him to death.
Gideons, armed with a knife in each hand, then approached a male and a female and demanded cash.
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Gideons was chasing another male when police arrived. Gideons ran, but officers from the Violent Crime Impact Team caught up with him.
Police Lt. Mark Salazar said Gideons wanted officers to shoot him, but he was subdued with a stun gun and with a less-lethal beanbag round fired from a shotgun.
Salazar said Gideons told officers he wished the bullets were real.
“The officers showed great restraint by not using deadly force,” Salazar said.
Horstmeier’s father, also named Dennis Horstmeier, said his his son had some rough patches in his life but was moving in the right direction. He had returned to school and became a heavy equipment operator last year.
“People he worked for told me that he was doing really well,” the senior Horstmeier said.
No one who witnessed the stabbing in the neighborhood could be found Tuesday, but a neighbor who lives nearby wasn’t surprised by the violence.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, said the area has been on a downward spiral for the past five years.
“ Muy mala (very bad),” she said of the neighborhood. “Bulldogs. All night long people are walking by barking” — a signature of the Fresno-based street gang.