Standoff ends with one man dead in Fresno's fourth police shooting this year

Police cordon off Parkway Drive just south of Olive Avenue on Friday night, July 20, 2018, during a standoff with a suspect in the Parkway Inn.
Police cordon off Parkway Drive just south of Olive Avenue on Friday night, July 20, 2018, during a standoff with a suspect in the Parkway Inn.

A standoff with Fresno police at a Highway 99 motel ended early Saturday morning with officers killing the 37-year-old suspect.

Deputy Chief Pat Farmer said the suspect, Ruben Maya, had a long history of domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon. Friday night at the Parkway Inn just south of Olive Avenue, Maya kept police at bay more than 80 minutes.

Police received multiple 911 calls around 9:44 p.m. of a man shooting from Room 221 (first floor) at other rooms and aiming his gun at people and cars in the motel parking lot, Farmer said. Investigators later learned that Maya had brandished weapons in the area Friday afternoon.

Maya started shooting at officers when they arrived at the motel, using what were believed to be a rifle and pistol. Investigators later learned the guns were realistic-looking pellet guns, Farmer said.

Motel guests were advised to stay inside their rooms. Screams could be heard from the motel as officers and Maya exchanged gunfire.

A woman escaped Maya’s room after the shooting started, first finding a hiding place before police were able to escort her to safety through a hole in a perimeter fence.

Maya got off at least 50 rounds, Farmer said, with at least one striking a police car. Police negotiators tried to talk down Maya, but he escalated the confrontation by first throwing a television out of his room window and shooting through the window while screaming and barking like a dog. Then Maya came out and aimed a gun at an officer, who missed with two shots from a rifle before Maya retreated back into the room.

Maya came back out and went to the parking lot where he shot at officers. Two officers fired back and one of the rounds hit Maya, Farmer said. Maya dove back into his room through the smashed window and a team of officers rushed in. They provided first aid and Maya was taken to Community Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, Farmer said.

Farmer said Maya was involved in a child custody dispute with his estranged wife, and that 10 minutes before the Parkway call, Maya broke out a window to enter her home.

Farmer said it was not immediately known if Maya was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

More than 30 officers were on the scene, including a police dog unit, SWAT team and Skywatch air support. Investigators remained there at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

Farmer said it’s the fourth time officers have shot someone this year, up from three incidents at this time last year. Independent Police Auditor John Gliatta was on scene. The officers involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave per department protocol, Farmer said, adding that criminal, internal affairs and civil liabilities investigations are being conducted.

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPan Jessica Johnson: 559-441-6051, @iamjesslj