Homicide detectives around the central San Joaquin Valley are crunching cruel numbers on killings in the region as the year winds down.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office recorded 13 slayings in 2016, including four double homicides in January, and assisted in the investigation of four others in Mendota, two in Orange Cove and one in Huron, according to sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti. That compares with 12 in the county in 2015 and four more in which detectives assisted investigations by other agencies.
Detectives are reaching out for help in two of the January double killings. The first took place Jan. 11 as Jesus Castor, 52, and his mother, Maria Socorro Lopez, 77, were walking to a store on the 2400 block of South 10th Street when they crossed paths with a group of four or five men and one of the men pulled out a handgun and began shooting.
Castor died that night, and his mother died in a hospital. The MAGEC anti-gang unit later raided a number of addresses targeting the Calwa Bulldog gang in connection with the slayings.
The second case took place Jan. 29, when William Harris, 17, and Kayla DeBorde, 19, both of Fresno were shot and killed during a party on the 7200 block of South Orange Avenue, southeast of Easton. That is where a disturbance broke out and someone began shooting.
Anyone with information about the cases is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 559-498-STOP.
The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department recorded 19 homicides in 2016, and 12 have been solved, according to Lt. Jim Franks. That compares to 25 murders in 2015 with 17 solved.
Franks said detectives were asking for help finding witnesses for a double homicide that took place Halloween night in the Strathmore area. A suspect was arrested but there was not enough evidence to hold him.
In addition, anyone with information about a Christmas Eve shooting inside a home on the 30900 block of Road 71 in Goshen is asked to contact deputies. Police are seeking Theoatis “Theo” Reed in that case.