The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday identified Casimero “Shane” Carlos Casillas, 45, as the man who was shot and killed after a confrontation with a Fresno police officer Monday afternoon after a chase that ended in Tarpey Village.
It was the third shooting in less than a week involving a Fresno police officer, and Chief Jerry Dyer said it is a reflection of the increased threat faced by police officers across the country.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting that took place after police said Casillas tried to elude officers when they attempted a routine traffic stop at Belmont Avenue and Fifth Street shortly after 5 p.m. Casillas reportedly sped away, and officers broke off a pursuit after Casillas drove through several traffic lights.
Officers again tried to stop Casillas at McKinley and Clovis avenues, but Dyer said Casillas drove to Clovis Avenue and Lansing Way, in the Tarpey Village area, where he ran from the car. Several officers approached the home where Casillas was reportedly hiding.
Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said officers found Casillas hiding in a backyard, holding a 2-foot-long metal pipe. (A sheriff’s sergeant had initially identified it as a 2-foot-long black PVC pipe.) He refused to surrender and ran toward a police officer with the pipe, Botti said, adding that the officer “feared for his life,” so he fired his gun and struck Casillas. He died in surgery at Community Regional Medical Center.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting because it took place in an unincorporated portion of the county. Botti said the police officer was not wearing a body camera. He said detectives also have recovered the metal pipe. A passenger in the car driven by Casillas was detained by officers.
Casillas had an “extensive criminal history,” Botti said, including a charge of battery against a peace officer, and he was sought on a felony warrant tied to a post-release community supervision violation.
In the other recent officer-involved shootings, officers critically wounded two suspects on Thursday and Saturday. Both suspects – Freddy Centeno, 40, of Fresno, and a 17-year-old boy – remain in critical condition.
There have been six officer-involved shootings this year in Fresno, compared with eight in 2014.
“There’s no question what’s happening across America,” Dyer said Monday evening. “There’s an increase in aggressiveness towards officers. We’re seeing police officers that are being shot, officers that are being assassinated. Certainly police officers are being very vigilant, but at the same time I know that there’s a high level of scrutiny and criticism on the actions of officers.
“What we have seen this week is an increased level of aggressiveness towards officers, and when officers fear for their life, or for the life of someone else, they use deadly force, and unfortunately we’ve had three of those incidences occur in the last week.”