Crime

Three sentenced for chair-swinging gang fight at Fashion Fair mall

Watch chair-swinging gang fight in Fashion Fair mall

A brawl among gang members broke out in February 2015 on a busy day at Fresno's Fashion Fair mall. Three men between ages 20 and 22 were sentenced Tuesday, March 29, 2016 for their roles in the fight.
Up Next
A brawl among gang members broke out in February 2015 on a busy day at Fresno's Fashion Fair mall. Three men between ages 20 and 22 were sentenced Tuesday, March 29, 2016 for their roles in the fight.

Three Fresno gang members were sentenced Tuesday to prison for their role in a fight with rival gang members inside Fashion Fair mall last year – a violent altercation that received widespread views on social media.

As part of a plea agreement, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Gary Hoff sentenced Tyrone Demetrius Smith, 20, to eight years in prison; Demariea Lamont Robinson, 21, to seven years in prison; and Quran Roberson, 22, to a five-year prison term.

In announcing the sentences, Hoff said the defendants did not start the fight but acted illegally and inappropriately.

“There was no planning or sophistication to the crime,” Hoff said. “They were reacting to a situation.”

But all three defendants have criminal records and were on probation or parole when the fight happened, the judge said. They also admitted to being members or associates of the Strother Boys street gang. In addition, Roberson was released from jail a day before the fight, prosecutor Galen Rutiaga told the judge.

The three defendants have criminal records and were on probation or parole when the fight happened. They also admitted to being members or associates of the Strother Boys street gang.

Police reports say the Feb. 7, 2015, fight was between members of the Strother Boys and the Dog Pound, two southwest Fresno criminal street gangs.

The video shows the combatants fighting with chairs near the Foot Locker shoe store on a busy Saturday night as stunned shoppers duck for cover and run from the melee. One combatant, Keith McCray, a member of the Dog Pound, was knocked out.

Fresno defense lawyers Amy Guerra, Robert Lamanuzzi and Curtis Sok said their clients had gone to the mall to purchase shoes when their rivals saw them and threw a chair at them.

“They were just defending themselves,” Sok said.

The defendants were charged with a crime because McCray was knocked out and hospitalized, Sok said. And after he was knocked out, Roberson was accused of taking McCray’s necklace. Roberson later told police where to find the jewelry.

The defendants accepted a plea deal Feb. 26 because if convicted at trial their prison sentences would have been in double digits, the defense lawyers said.

Court records say Robinson pleaded no contest to felony assault, Smith pleaded no contest to felony battery causing serious bodily injury, and Roberson pleaded no contest to felony theft.

Fresno police say the Fashion Fair fight sparked several other shootings, including the slaying of Toma Threat two days later in southwest Fresno. Threat, 19, was shot near the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and California Avenue when a gunman got out of a white vehicle and opened fire. His case remains unsolved.

Court records say Threat was associated with the Weller Boys street gang, another rival of the Dog Pound.

“It was retaliation,” Lt. Mark Salazar said at the time of Threat’s homicide, explaining the Fashion Fair fight made one gang look bad when one of its members got knocked out.

Since the mall fight, McCray also has been shot, police said. He was walking on Fountain Way near Pleasant Avenue when a drive-by shooter shot him in the left side Feb. 15, 2015, court records say.

In November, police arrested McCray after he was accused of shoplifting from Winco at 1004 S. Peach Ave. in southeast Fresno. During his arrest, police confiscated a loaded .38-caliber revolver, which they later determined was stolen.

McCray is in Fresno County Jail, awaiting a trial on felony charges of petty theft, shoplifting, being in possession of a concealed stolen firearm and carrying a loaded gun in public. He also has pending cases of residential burglary and domestic violence.

Pablo Lopez: 559-441-6434, @beecourts

  Comments