Three men have been arrested for allegedly taking part in a street-racing “sideshow” event last weekend in Fresno, during which a crowd surrounded a CHP officer and beat upon his SUV before he drove to safety.
Police still are searching for several others – including the man responsible for smashing two of the SUV’s windows.
“This kind of unruly behavior, which borders on animal, has to be addressed in our society or we will have a lawless society,” Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said Friday at a news conference. “And we need law and order in our society.”
He continued: “We know what the environment is across the nation today with protests, riots and police officers being attacked and a lot of the criticism that law enforcement faces. I believe this is the symptom of that. And there appears to be a willingness on the part of people to attack law enforcement.”
The incident took place about 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Orange and North avenues in southwest Fresno after the CHP officer spotted tire smoke and drove to the intersection. There he saw the driver of a Chevrolet Tahoe burning “dougnuts.” The officer got out of his SUV to make a traffic stop, but the crowd shouted for the Tahoe driver to speed away, which he did.
Dyer said that when the officer tried to pursue, about 25 to 30 people began to vandalize the CHP vehicle, smashing the driver’s-side window and another piece of glass and denting body paneling.
The officer’s dash camera and a license plate reader collected information about the Tahoe and other vehicles as well as suspects, the chief said.
The men arrested were identified as Federico Gonzalez, 20; Gabriel Deanda, 18, and Milton Rodriguez, 29.
Dyer said Rodriguez was the driver of the Tahoe and has a criminal history, including a prior conviction for reckless driving. He was charged with reckless driving and evading arrest.
Gonzalez was arrested Tuesday after his fingerprints were lifted from the battered CHP vehicle, Dyer said. He is a known Bulldog gang associate, the chief said.
25 to 30The number of “sideshow” attendees who rushed the CHP vehicle during a traffic stop
Dyer said video showed Deanda kicking the patrol car. He was arrested just after midnight Thursday. He allegedly told investigators that he was upset at the CHP for towing his car. He is a known Bulldog gang member.
Police are searching for a fourth identified suspect: Guadalupe Gonzalez, 19, who lives on the 1900 block of East Holland Avenue.
Detectives also are searching for several unidentified suspects who were captured on video – especially one wearing a red baseball cap. That man allegedly used an unknown object to hit the side window of the CHP vehicle and smash out the rear windshield. He is wanted on a variety of felonies, including the attempted assault of a peace officer with a deadly weapon.
The SUV sustained around $12,000 in damage, Dyer said.
Anyone with information on these suspects is asked to call the department at 550-621-6130.
Dyer said police had been monitoring social media leading up to Sunday’s incident and knew of a possible event in which several car clubs would be driving from the Bay Area to Fresno.
The Police Department previously assigned 60 officers to a similar event held July 10. They issued citations, towed vehicles and made several arrests.
The Fresno Police Department and the CHP now have a plan to break up any events in the future, Dyer said. Between 50 and 60 traffic and street-violence officers will be on call and ready to stop future sideshows. The department also will continue to monitor social media for signs of such shows being advertised.