Fresno police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying suspects involved in an assault with a deadly weapon incident and a hit-and-run that left a victim with significant head trauma early Sunday morning in the Tower District.
Chief Jerry Dyer revealed details of the incidents – which involved one victim – on Monday during a news conference at police headquarters.
Police received a call about 1:45 a.m. Sunday from a female stating a car had struck a man on Olive Avenue in front of Bobby Salazar’s restaurant. The car, described as a white Chrysler 300 circa 2005-2010, fled and was seen traveling westbound on Olive.
On Monday evening, police said they had recovered the vehicle. No other information was available.
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Contract law enforcement officers working at Bobby Salazar’s and an off-duty nurse rushed to help the victim, John Rodriquez, 36.
“He was non-responsive at the time,” Dyer said. “There was initially no pulse.”
Dyer said Rodriquez suffered head trauma and underwent surgery at Community Regional Medical Center, where he is now listed in critical but stable condition.
Detectives discovered there was more than just a hit-and-run.
According to witnesses, Rodriquez was standing on the sidewalk when he and an unidentified individual, wearing a Nike sweater, bumped into each other. A physical altercation ensued.
The unidentified individual, described as Hispanic or Samoan, struck or pushed Rodriquez, knocking him onto Olive Avenue, Dyer said. Rodriquez was trying to get up when he was hit by the Chrysler.
Investigators have obtained surveillance video from a nearby store. Dyer said it shows the Chrysler pulling up to one of the gas pumps and the right front-seat passenger is seen exiting the car. The male passenger then checks the front of the car before getting back inside the car. Then all four occupants, including a female driver, all exit the car, go inside the store and buy beer.
The woman, who police believe was driving the Chrysler when it hit Rodriquez, is seen wearing ripped jeans with a light beige jacket and a white scarf.
Dyer said all four in the car could be held accountable for the hit-and-run, depending on what the investigation reveals.
Anyone with information on the unidentified person who knocked Rodriquez into the roadway is asked to call police, as well as those with any information regarding the four occupants in the white Chrysler, Dyer said.