Fresno police are investigating an assault and shooting that broke out at a crime-ridden central Fresno intersection.
Lt. Joe Gomez told reporters that an African American man and his girlfriend had just left McKinley Market on the corner of McKinley and Normal avenues around 3 p.m. Saturday when a group of Hispanic men came around the corner and assaulted the couple with beer bottles.
Surveillance video shows the group, consisting of five men all in their 20s, exchange words with the African American man, who is also in his 20s and apparently known to the group, Gomez said.
“They are accusing his associate of robbing one of their associates,” said the lieutenant.
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Eventually, the group threw beer bottles at the man’s van. One of them struck the man while in the driver’s seat.
Blood that was splattered on the street possibly came from the man getting struck.
Gomez said the man chased after one of the group’s members and fired his gun at least once as the man ran into an alley. Police aren’t sure whether the bullet struck the man. All police found as they processed the scene for evidence was a shell casing, proving the gun was fired once.
“There’s possibly a shooting victim, but it’s doubtful,” Gomez said. “We don’t have any evidence he was hit right now.”
Initially, police believed that a man who showed up at Community Regional Medical Center with a gunshot wound to his hand was from the central Fresno incident. But Gomez said that was an unrelated incident.
After the African American man allegedly fired his gun, the confronting group scattered.
The man and girlfriend took off in the van, which was driven west on McKinley. Police, however, eventually caught up to it.
Gomez said police know the African American man but his identity, nor that of the girlfriend’s, was released.
A crime scene investigator was on site to examine the evidence and marked several spots related to the incident – a common occurrence to that area of Fresno, which sees criminal activity on a regular basis, according to Gomez.
Gomez said there’s more information needed to determine what transpired. Investigators are turning to surveillance video from the corner market for help.
The other option, uncooperative eyewitnesses, isn’t much help, he said.
Several people interviewed by police, including some at a nearby car wash, apparently told police that no shots were fired in the area, despite the call to police stating otherwise. The challenging part to the investigation is that the gang-infested neighborhood is not a ShotSpotter zone, according to Gomez.
“I understand their fear, I do,” Gomez said. “We need cooperation to get the job done but I absolutely understand why they would not come forward.”