Chief Jerry Dyer on southeast Fresno standoff
An armed man believed to be high on methamphetamine was taken into custody and a wounded woman believed to be seven months pregnant was rescued Wednesday after Fresno police SWAT officers stormed a house in the southeast part of the city.
The action was preceded by multiple explosions as the officers used a robot and flash-bang stun grenades to disorient the man, identified as Manuel Servin, 32. The woman, whom authorities believed to be Servin’s wife, was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center for surgery. Police Chief Jerry Dyer said she had been shot in the head but was responsive. Servin was also taken to Community, but Dyer said initial information was that he was not wounded by gunfire during the incident.
“This is the best outcome we could hope for today,” said Dyer, who appeared to briefly choke with emotion as he met with reporters after the siege concluded. “I’m very thankful for what our SWAT officers did … to go in there and rescue this victim. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.”
The standoff at South Meridian and East Belgravia avenues, near the intersection of East Church and South Maples avenues, began about 8 a.m. when police received a report that a pregnant woman had been shot. Police Lt. Joe Gomez said Servin’s mother told police that she had received a call from her son, in which Servin said that he had shot the woman and that he would also shoot his mother if she came to the home.
His mother drove to the neighborhood and parked down the street. Three children in the home – two 7-year-olds and one 3-year-old – came out of the house and ran to their grandmother’s car. Police rushed to the neighborhood moments later and tried get Servin to come out of the house by using a public address system and also calling his cellphone. Servin did not comply, and more officers and negotiators were called in as well as police dogs, an armored vehicle and the department’s bomb squad truck, which is equipped with robots.
Dyer said that Servin has an extensive criminal history that includes domestic violence. The chief said Servin was under the influence of the narcotic stimulant and told officers that he had an AR-15 assault rifle and a large amount of ammunition.
Police tried to get Servin to come out of the house for about four hours. Officers sent in the robot and used the flash-bang grenades to force Servin into a bedroom in the house. Servin fired at least five rounds during the standoff, some at the robot. A series of grenades detonated a short time later before officers were able to force entry into the room and take him into custody. Firefighters were called in to put out a fire on a bed caused by one of the grenades.
Dyer said the SWAT team had an emergency trauma surgeon embedded in the unit, and that the woman received immediate treatment once she was rescued. There was no immediate information about the health of the unborn child.
“We’re hopeful that the baby is able to survive,” Dyer said. “We’ll trust in the good Lord and the surgeons at CRMC.”