Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer on Thursday pleaded with eyewitnesses to come forward and identify the gunman responsible for slaying 20-month-old Rashad Halford Jr. at a southeast Fresno apartment complex last week.
The chief, appearing at a news conference with Keyona Chadman, Baby Rashad’s mother, said he believes there are people who were at the scene of the shooting who have not come forward with information needed to apprehend the killer. In particular, he cited a woman that he said knows more than she is telling about the gunman who fired the shots that killed the toddler and wounded his father, Rashad Halford Sr., 28, and Willis Mucelroy, 42.
Dyer expressed disbelief that the woman will not help identify the shooter.
“It’s unfathomable for me to understand,” Dyer said. “It’s shameful.”
The chief also noted that there was an $8,500 reward for information leading to the gunman’s arrest. About an hour after the conference, that amount jumped to $9,500, thanks to an anonymous donor.
It was shortly after 11 p.m. on June 21 when a man in a black hoodie walked toward a group gathered at the apartment complex on East Platt Avenue near South First Street. After saying “What’s up?” the man pulled out a handgun and fired at least 10 rounds. Rashad Sr., Rashad Jr. and Mucelroy fell to the ground. Rashad Sr. pulled his wounded son to his chest and held him before passing him to Chadman.
All three were rushed to a hospital. Rashad Jr. died several hours later. His father and Mucelroy have since been released.
Dyer said providing detectives with information is the right thing to do. “This is not about being a snitch,” he said. The chief also cautioned that a great deal of misinformation about the slaying is being circulated on social media. That includes false reports of who is responsible for the shooting. He said it is possible that someone might try to retaliate for the baby’s shooting by going after the wrong person.
“Time is of the essence,” he added.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-STOP.