Fresno police have recovered two handguns taken in the robbery of a north Fresno gun store in December in which an elderly man was knocked to the ground and later died.
Lt. Mark Salazar of the department’s Street Violence Section said the weapons were recovered in Sacramento and Fresno, both after officers arrested street gang members. He added that the recovery and other developments, including the serving of several warrants, mark progress in solving the murder.
“It’s coming together,” he said.
Fresno Firearms was robbed Dec. 4 when two armed men stormed into the store and took a number of weapons at gunpoint. While making their escape, the bandits shoved George “Georgio” Sheklian, 85, to the ground. Sheklian struck his head and died five days later at Community Regional Medical Center from his injuries.
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Salazar said on Jan. 21 Sacramento police recovered one of the handguns when they took several gang members into custody. Fresno police detectives went to Sacramento and spent a day interviewing them. The gang members denied any knowledge of the robbery. Salazar said he could not get into specifics about the type of weapons recovered or how many are still on the street.
On March 27, members of the MAGEC anti-gang unit recovered the second gun after arresting southwest Fresno street gang members. In interviews with detectives, those gangsters also denied knowing the source of the weapon.
The slaying of Sheklian prompted a citywide outcry. He was an owner of Georgio’s and Son Sierra Shoe Repair, which was next door to Fresno Firearms. He made it his habit of bringing gun store owner Marilyn Panek coffee in the morning.
Sheklian’s wife and the couple’s three children are suing Panek for negligence and willful misconduct. The lawsuit, filed in Fresno County Superior Court, contends Panek “failed to take remedial precautions to assure the safety of members of the public.”