Social media feud leads to eight years in prison for Fresno man

Dario Ramirez, left, and Brisa Chavez-Arias were arrested in a series of drive-by shootings that police say started as a social medial dispute.
Dario Ramirez, left, and Brisa Chavez-Arias were arrested in a series of drive-by shootings that police say started as a social medial dispute. Fresno Police Department

A social media feud and a teenage girl with a gun has led to an eight-year prison term for 22-year-old Dario Ramirez.

Ramirez was sentenced Monday by Judge James Kelley for Ramirez’s role as the wheel man in the drive-by shootings of four homes in southeast and central Fresno in late September 2018.

Ramirez and the alleged shooter, Brisa Chavez-Arias, were each charged with four felony counts of discharging a firearm at an inhabited dwelling, one count of assault with a semi-automatic firearm and one count of attempted residential burglary. Ramirez pleaded no contest to all the charges in May.

Chavez-Arias, who was 19 at the time of the shootings, has pleaded not guilty and is expected to go to trial on Aug. 19. If found guilty, she could spend 25 years in prison.

During his sentencing, Ramirez’s attorney Rick Horowitz asked the judge for leniency, saying Ramirez was a good kid who got caught up with the wrong crowd.

“He has a fully supportive family and before he became involved with Brisa he wanted to go to school to be a psychologist,” Horowitz said. “He knows he made a terrible mistake.”

Horowitz wanted the judge to grant probation so Ramirez could put his life back together. But prosecutor Andrew Janz pushed for the maximum, an eight-year prison sentence.

Janz said Ramirez’s and Chavez-Arias’ actions were extremely reckless, dangerous and potentially deadly.

Court records show the shootings were triggered by several posts on social media between Chavez-Arias and several other girls. Her attorney has alleged the other girls were threatening his client.

To try and end the feud, Chavez-Arias armed herself with a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson. In late September she had Ramirez drive her around Fresno to shoot up the homes and apartments of her enemies.

No one was injured, but several shots came close; one of the bullets penetrated an outside wall and pierced the TV in a child’s bedroom, Janz said. One of the homes was a case of mistaken identity and belonged to a law enforcement officer and his family.

Despite a plea for leniency from Horowitz, Kelley had no qualms about sending Ramirez, a first-time offender, to prison. Kelley said Ramirez should have known better, especially after the first shot was fired.

“He put a lot of people in this community in danger and that is one of the things that people fear in this community, drive-by shootings,” said Kelley. “This is an egregious case.”

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A Valley native, Robert has worked at The Fresno Bee since 1994, covering various topics including education, business and agriculture. He currently covers courts.