A reward for the arrest of the men responsible for the killing of a 77-year-old woman and her son in Calwa on Jan. 11 has been raised to $5,000, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims announced Thursday.
Maria Socorro Lopez, 77, and her son Jesus Castor, 52, were shot while they were walking with an 18-year-old family member in the 2400 block of South Tenth Street. The shooting happened about 2 a.m. as the family was heading to a store and passed a group of four or five men. One of the men pulled out a handgun and fired. Castor died at the scene, and Lopez died of her wounds this week at Community Regional Medical Center.
“The family is devastated,” Mims said at a news conference attended by family members. “They are hard-working people not involved in any kind of criminal activity.”
The sheriff said deputies are working nonstop to find those responsible but emphasized that making arrests is only part of the job; ensuring there is enough evidence to gain a conviction is also necessary.
Dale Mendoza, president of Valley Crime Stoppers, also attended the event to announce that he intended to hike the reward to $2,500 but was able to make the reward $5,000 after Dustin Pest Control, which employed a member of the Castor family, also joined the effort with another $2,500.
The slayings are one of three sets of double homicides to take place in Fresno County this year, bringing the county total for 2016 to six, compared to nine for all of 2015. Mims noted that the slayings took place in three different parts of the county.
In addition to the Calwa homicides, Karisha Beardsley, 36, and John Asher, 44, were slain in the 20000 block of Auberry Road north of Clovis on Jan. 21 and Alfonso Barbosa, 31, and Fray Martin Rodriguez, 29, were killed near Reedley. The sheriff said the Reedley crimes appear to be gang-related, and detectives are still investigating the cause of the Auberry homicides.
“Detectives are working very hard to solve all of these cases,” Mims said.
Jim Guy: 559-441-6339