Clovis News

Fresno man dies after standoff with deputies

A man whose brother was shot and killed last summer by Fresno County sheriff's deputies died Saturday afternoon after he was shot during a standoff with deputies.

Manuel Serna, 38, of Fresno died in Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno. He had held deputies at bay for several hours Saturday afternoon after shooting a rifle from a house in southwest Fresno.

The standoff came to an end when the sheriff's SWAT team set off "flash bang" devices, stormed the house and fired on Serna. Sheriff's spokesman Chris Curtice did not say whether Serna also fired or how many shots were fired during the final moments of the standoff.

Curtice said deputies were called to the 3600 block of West Madison Avenue about 12:40 p.m. by family members who said Serna had fired a rifle and threatened to shoot sheriff's deputies if they came to the home.

Deputies arrived a few minutes later, and Serna fired more shots. Deputies took cover and called for a SWAT team.

As the siege unfolded, several members of Serna's family prayed outside a perimeter set up by California Highway Patrol officers. A man who identified himself as Raymond Serna said his brother had not slept for several days and was delusional.

He said Manuel Serna's brother, Jesus, was shot a little more than a year ago after a confrontation with deputies.

Raymond Serna did not say whether Saturday's incident was sparked by the death of his brother. He did say Manuel Serna had sought help and did not get it.

"Today he snapped," Raymond Serna said.

A woman who identified herself as Manuel Serna's aunt, Maria Dejesus, said she received a call from Manuel Serna at her home in Washington state Friday. She said she took a bus to the Fresno area to try to help her nephew.

By the time she arrived, the siege was unfolding.

After deploying two helicopters, an armored vehicle and sharpshooters, deputies attempted to persuade Manuel Serna -- who reportedly was sitting in a wheelchair with a rifle equipped with a 30-round magazine on his lap -- to surrender. Negotiators were unable to reach Serna by telephone, Curtice said.

The SWAT team stormed the house about 3:45 p.m., and the shooting followed.

The Fresno County Coroner's Office has not reported the cause of death. Curtice said it was too early to say whether deputies who fired shots would be put on paid administrative leave, which normally follows deputy-involved shootings.

Serna's brother, Jesus Serna, 32, of Fresno, was killed by SWAT team members in July 2009 after he shot and wounded two deputies and a sheriff's dog.

That incident began with a call reporting a man with a gun at Jerry's Tire Shop on Elm Avenue just south of North Avenue. Jesus Serna shot at the first two deputies to arrive, firing even before the deputies could get out of their cars, Sheriff Margaret Mims said at the time.

After Serna fired at the deputies, he drove about 50 yards, crashed into a fence and ran into an area where wood pallets are stored.

Within minutes, other deputies, Fresno and Clovis police and California Highway Patrol officers fanned out in the area. Deputies told Serna to come out, but he refused.

A sheriff's dog, Reno, was sent in, and Serna shot the dog. Deputies shot and killed Serna.

The deputies and the dog survived.

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