Fresno police speak on fatal shooting of ax-wielding suspect
Fresno police say a six-hour-long standoff near Bulldog Stadium — involved a wanted parolee with an ax — ended Saturday afternoon with the suspect being fatally shot.
The suspect, identified initially only as a 29-year-old man, was shot to death by members of the department’s SWAT Team. He was identified Monday by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office as Oliver Hernandez.
Toward the end of the standoff Saturday afternoon, a police remote-controlled robot had been sent inside the apartment, and officers cleared the residence, with the exception of a room that had a closed door.
Police breached the room with the closed door, where Hernandez was barricaded with the ax, and an officer fired several “lethal and nonlethal rounds,” according to Deputy Police Chief Pat Farmer.
Hernandez was taken to Community Regional Medical Center and later pronounced dead. Police haven’t said whether he swung the ax at officers during the incident.
“We’re still in the infancy of this investigation, we’re still gathering facts, we’re still trying to determine exactly what happened inside that room,” Farmer said.
The standoff began around 5:30 a.m. Saturday at the Village Apartments on Ninth Street and Bulldog Lane after the Hernandez’s sister called police about her brother, according to Lt. Michael Landon.
The caller said her brother was high on drugs and armed with an ax and a stun gun, Landon said. He refused to leave, and the woman said she didn’t feel safe.
Police said the apartment had belonged to the suspect’s mother. She had let Hernandez into the residence around 1 a.m. Saturday. He was possibly intoxicated, according to Farmer, and later locked himself in the residence’s restroom.
As family members asked to use the restroom, Hernandez refused to come out. When the suspect did exit, he began swinging a “battle ax” in the air, “telling everyone to stay away from him,” Farmer said.
“At that point we were called shortly after that incident,” Farmer added, “and the family members were in fear that they were going to be harmed.”
The suspect’s mother and sister were in the residence at that time, along with the sister’s three children and two unidentified adult men.
When police arrived, the adults and children were able to leave the apartment safely, but Hernandez refused to leave. Police also asked adjacent residents to leave their apartments for their safety, Farmer said.
A neighbor who did not give his name said he heard the man yelling as police tried to talk him out of the apartment.
For more than six hours, crisis negotiators and family members tried talking to Hernandez during the standoff, Farmer said, to get him to leave peacefully.
Farmer said Hernandez was a wanted parolee who had “just got out of prison about a month ago,” for assault with a deadly weapon, Farmer said.
“He was absconding from parole as well,” Farmer said. “We knew he had a violent criminal history, as well as being armed with an ax.”