A Fresno police officer responding to a report of a man armed with a shotgun shot and killed a man who pulled what turned out to be a real-looking imitation firearm out of his pants Friday morning, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting because it took place in the county, on the southwest corner of Shaw and Hayes avenues across the street from Fresno city limits. At the shooting scene, Mims said the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office is conducting a parallel investigation.
The officer, who was not identified, was not injured.
The Fresno County coroner identified the man killed as Aaron Allen Marchese, 30, of Fresno.
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(Note: The original versio of this story incorrectly reported that Marchese did not have a criminal history.)
Marchese has a criminal history, sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said. Most recently, he was arrested by a deputy Thursday night in the 4900 block of North Hayes Avenue — just feet from the site of Friday’s shooting — on drug possession charges. The deputy allegedly found methamphetamine and a pipe on Marchese, who was on probation.
Botti said the Sheriff’s Office requested a probation hold, which would have kept Marchese in jail, but it was denied. He was cited for the misdemeanor drug charges and released.
He was killed several hours later.
It’s the third Fresno police officer-involved shooting this year but the first resulting in a fatality. Last year there were eight Fresno police officer-involved shootings, seven resulting in a fatality.
The incident began at 8:51 a.m., when a witness called dispatchers to report seeing a man with a shotgun who cocked the weapon and shoved it into his waistband. About nine minutes later, the sheriff said, a responding Fresno police officer arrived on the scene west of Highway 99 and saw Marchese, who matched the description provided by the caller. The officer approached Marchese and ordered him to show his hands several times.
Instead, Mims said, Marchese walked a distance away before turning to face the officer and pulling the object from his pants. At that point, Mims said, the officer fired his weapon and struck Marchese. Mims said how many rounds were fired was still being determined. Mims said the officer began CPR and called for an ambulance. Marchese died a short time later.
At the scene, investigators were doing a “walk-through” of the shooting scene and Mims said more information would be forthcoming. The sheriff said that she had seen the imitation weapon and that it appeared to look like a real firearm. Mims was asked if the weapon had a red tip at the end of the barrel, as do many toy firearms, and replied that the officer did not wait to see the end of the gun barrel before firing.
The sheriff said Fresno police and sheriff’s deputies commonly respond to calls for service close to borders shared by the two agencies and that radio traffic on one agency is routinely monitored by its counterpart.