Two Fresno murders in 2015 – the shooting of popular former Edison High School athlete Deondre “Day Day” Howard and the stabbing of “Casey” or “Kenton Craig” Haggard – remain high on police detectives’ radar screens as 2015 comes to a close.
They join a holdover from late in 2014: the slaying of George “Georgio” Sheklian, 85, at a Fresno gun shop.
Anyone with information about the three murders is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 559-498-STOP.
Howard was shot to death Aug. 29 as he stood outside his mother’s house in the 4600 block of North Charles Avenue, near Shaw and Valentine avenues in northwest Fresno.
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His 16-year-old brother was wounded. Friends, family and coaches say Howard, 21, was a star athlete who would cross the street to avoid a confrontation, or wait for a ride home from practice to avoid the chance of catching a stray bullet on the tough streets of southwest Fresno.
Fresno police Lt. Burke Farrah of the Street Violence Section said he would love to provide details about the investigation but, as in other cases, he said to do so would compromise the case. He would only comment that detectives were receiving “excellent” assistance from Howard’s family.
The murder of Haggard, 66, on July 23 became a rallying point for transgender rights advocates. Haggard’s pre-dawn slaying was caught on a tattoo shop camera near Blackstone and Cornell avenues in central Fresno. The grainy surveillance video shows Haggard, wearing a knee-length dress and a cardigan, walking up to a car. Moments later, someone in the car reaches over and stabs Haggard in the neck before driving off. Haggard waves for help from passing cars before collapsing. He died at Community Regional Medical Center about an hour later.
Transgender advocates say Haggard should not have been identified as a man, although Haggard’s driver’s license and a coroner’s report both list his gender as male; American Civil Liberties Union attorney Chase Strangio argued that officials should not presume the sexual identity of a possible transgender victim.
The murder remains unsolved.
Farrah said there is no such thing as a cold case for the unit’s detectives when it comes to murder.
“We work for the victims’ families,” he said. Farrah said detectives are “personally invested” in the Haggard case.
“We know this case has caused a lot of pain and fear in our community – specifically in the transgender community. Our detectives understand that.”
There are three tantalizing clues in the Dec. 4, 2014, murder of Sheklian at Fresno Firearms: two handguns recovered in Fresno and one in Sacramento.
Sheklian, who owned Georgio’s and Sons Shoe Repair, was bringing coffee to the gun store owner when two men who robbed the store of weapons were making their escape. One of the men knocked Sheklian to the ground. He struck his head and died five days later.
Sacramento police recovered one of the guns when they arrested gang members on Jan. 21. When police arrested southwest Fresno gang members on March 27, they recovered a second gun. Police did not provide information about the third seizure.
“This is a very complicated case with some very strong emotions,” Farrah said. “Everyone loved Mr. Sheklian. He was not the focus of this homicide, which is unusual for us.”
Jim Guy: 559-441-6339
City of Fresno
Source: Law enforcement agencies