Sheriff updates media on wounded deputy
The 57-year-old Clovis man accused of shooting a Fresno County Sheriff’s deputy and a civilian near Tollhouse, pleaded not guilty Monday to two counts of attempted murder.
Michael James Congdon appeared in Fresno County Superior Court dressed in a yellow jump suit, signifying a high-risk inmate. Four extra sheriff’s deputies were also present during his brief arraignment in Judge James Kelley’s court room.
Several of Congdon’s family members sat in the audience as he pleaded not guilty to four felony charges, including two counts of attempted murder, using a semi-automatic weapon in the assault, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle and charges of cruelty to an animal after a horse was hit by gunfire during the incident.
Congdon faces more than 64 years to life in prison if found guilty of shooting Deputy John Erickson and a citizen who was taking part in a ride-along.
The shooting happened July 2 after two deputies were sent to the 29000 block of Quail Springs Lane to check a report of a disturbance between neighbors. Authorities reported that as soon as Erickson arrived on a dirt lane flanked by thick brush, a man later identified as Congdon began shooting at Erickson’s pickup.
Erickson was hit in the leg, shattering his femur. The citizen was able to escape the truck without being hit and the other deputy, who was not identified by officials, helped him to safety then fired at Congdon before dragging Erickson “a considerable distance” to a safe place. Congdon was taken into custody after an hours-long standoff.
Erickson is recovering from his injuries.
Congdon’s next court appearance is July 12 for a pre-preliminary hearing.