Crime

Man fatally shot in southwest Fresno

Fresno police on Friday were checking out leads in a shooting late Thursday in southwest Fresno that claimed the life of a 42-year-old man, making him the city's 31st homicide victim this year.

The Fresno County Coroner's Office identified the victim as Albert Willis.

Lt. Mark Salazar said Willis lived in central Fresno and that it was not known what he was doing in the neighborhood where he was shot.

Salazar described the shooting as an isolated incident and said investigators do not believe the motive to be gang related.

The shooting was reported shortly before 11 p.m. near Plumas and Whites Bridge avenues.

Willis was found suffering from gunshot wounds when officers arrived, and he was treated at the scene by paramedics before he was taken to Community Regional Medical Center. He was pronounced dead about 2:30 a.m. Friday.

Salazar said preliminary findings indicate a car drove up in front of the victim, and a man stepped out of the vehicle and opened fire on Willis. The shooter fled in the car before officers arrived.

Salazar said it was not immediately determined whether the shooter and Willis knew each other.

On Friday, hours after the shooting, Jorge Luis Arreola Orozco, 18, a resident of the area, watched from the intersection of Whites Bridge and Modoc avenues as investigators searched the scene for evidence.

Orozco said he and a group of friends were hanging out near Plumas and Whites Bridge on Thursday night when he saw the victim with a group of people near the northeast corner of the intersection. Orozco said he saw someone approach the group and then heard about six shots.

He said the victim ran east from the intersection for a short distance before he collapsed near the front yard of a residence.

Orozco said he saw a woman run toward the fallen victim and that he heard her crying out, "My brother, my brother."

Last year at this time, the city had 24 killings, Salazar said.

Anyone with information about Willis' slaying may contact detective Marcus Gray at (559) 621-2441 or Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-STOP.

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