Crime

Beer run gone bad: Gunfire erupts at east-central Fresno market

Fresno police investigate a reported shooting involving a robber and a security guard at a Vallarta Supermarket at Dakota and Cedar avenues in central Fresno Wednesday, March 23, 2016.
Fresno police investigate a reported shooting involving a robber and a security guard at a Vallarta Supermarket at Dakota and Cedar avenues in central Fresno Wednesday, March 23, 2016. jguy@fresnobee.com

Bullets flew in east-central Fresno Wednesday afternoon when a man trying to steal beer from a Vallarta Supermarket shot a store security officer in the head with a pellet gun and other guards responded with real gunfire.

None of the bullets fired by the guards struck the bandit, who was then detained and taken to Community Regional Medical Center after a fight with the security officers. Fresno police detectives are trying to determine where the bullets fired during the confrontation ended up. Lt. Joe Gomez said another man involved in the beer theft was in custody and police believe a third man was at large.

The violence erupted about 3 p.m. at the market at Dakota and Cedar avenues when the men, two of whom police say are in their 20s, tried to walk out of the store with a 30 pack of Budweiser, an 18 pack of Modelo and some produce.

As they stepped out the door, one suspect was grabbed by a plainclothes officer. Gomez said the suspect pulled out a pellet gun that looked exactly like a Glock 17 pistol and shot the security officer in the back of the head. A uniformed security officer then produced a real Glock 17 and fired at the suspect, but missed. The suspect ran to Cedar with two guards in pursuit, and near Foster’s Donuts one guard fired a warning round into the ground. The second guard fired at the suspect but missed. The suspect was arrested following the scuffle.

Gomez said the suspects would likely face at least a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

“All over beer and some produce,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”

He also cautioned would-be bandits.

“One thing’s for sure, Vallarta has some weapons out here.”

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