The sound of gunfire echoed at downtown Fresno’s Courthouse Park on Friday morning after a man opened fire on another man in what police reported was a domestic violence crime.
The shooting broke out shortly before 11 a.m. when a woman seeking to complete paperwork for a restraining order and her male companion were ambushed near the Hall of Records, according to Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.
She identified the alleged shooter as Anthony Simpson, 53, who has a prior criminal record and has served time in state prison.
Mims said the victim and her companion were walking from the B.F. Sisk Courthouse, where the woman had taken out the paperwork, to the Sheriff’s Office when the gunman charged at them.
The male victim ran toward M Street, where he was hit in the thigh by a bullet near a crosswalk. The woman ran to the Sheriff’s Office, where she escaped after pounding on a side door and gaining entry.
Police and sheriff’s deputies scrambled to the sound of gunfire. Police Lt. Joe Gomez said he did not know how many rounds were fired but said the shooting was “very, very, unusual and very dangerous” because the area was full of courthouse workers and visitors at the time. Mims stressed that the shooting was a targeted attack and not directed at the public.
After the shooting, the male victim was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center, where he is expected to survive. The woman sustained a leg injury, was treated and released from medical care.
Simpson ran from the courthouse and through the Fulton Mall area with deputies and police officers in pursuit on motorcycles and bicycles, in cars and on foot.
A motorcycle officer apparently tracked Simpson to an area just north of Chukchansi Park, where he was taken into custody. Among the officers to arrive on scene were Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer and Lt. Herman Silva, who left their jobs in police headquarters when they heard about the shooting.
I can’t imagine how he thought that he was going to get away.
Sheriff Margaret Mims
Gomez said the flight of the alleged gunman was tracked on the police video system. The firearm believed to have been used in the shooting was found in the suspect’s backpack.
Dyer arrived on scene as Simpson was arrested near Chukchansi Park. “What’s up?” Simpson asked Dyer, who responded, “You tell me.”
Said Mims: “I can’t imagine how he thought that he was going to get away.”
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office continue to interview witnesses, and anyone with information is asked to call 559-600-3111.