A gun battle that began when two men, one armed, walked into an east-central Fresno home Tuesday morning ended with three men dead and one wounded, police say.
Police sorted through an extensive crime scene near 5267 E. Hammond Ave. after multiple rounds were fired in the quiet, newer neighborhood near Peach and Olive avenues. Police Chief Jerry Dyer said detectives were trying to determine whether a home invasion, an attempted drug ripoff or perhaps something else started the shooting.
Multiple officers sped to the home about 8 a.m. after the gunfire started and 911 calls reached dispatchers. They found a bullet-riddled white sedan in front of the residence, with a man lying nearby and a second man in the car’s passenger seat. A pistol lay close by and both men were wounded, according to Dyer. The two were pronounced dead at Community Regional Medical Center.
A third man, described as in his late 50s or early 60s, who was found inside the house also succumbed at CRMC. A 30-year-old man who appeared to be wounded in the shoulder in the exchange of gunfire was hospitalized.
Dyer said preliminary information indicated that two men entered the home, one armed with the handgun, and they were met in the living room by the 30-year-old who was armed with an AR-15 rifle. Gunfire broke out, and the man believed to be in his late 50s or early 60s, who may have been held at gunpoint by the intruders, was shot in the home.
The shooting continued outside and Dyer said there were a number of bullet strike marks on the sedan and a blown-out back window. The chief said detectives have possession of the handgun found near the car as well as the younger resident’s AR-15 rifle.
The total number of gunshots fired during the exchange was still being tallied by investigators, but Dyer said it is possible nearby houses may have been struck by high-velocity bullets from the rifle or the pistol.
It was unclear how the older man sustained the fatal gunshot wound — whether he was hit by the intruders or by the resident of the home. It’s also not known how the intruders gained entry: Dyer said the house had a security door but it did not appear to have been forced open.