Schools put on alert as police hunt for gunman

Three central Fresno elementary schools were put on alert Tuesday morning as police searched for a gunman.

The schools were Phoenix, Williams and Roeding, said Fresno Unified spokeswoman Susan Bedi. The alert followed an apartment fire nearby that police encountered while searching for the suspect, described as a Hispanic man between 400 and 450 pounds and in his 30s, according to Lt. Burke Farrah.

Farrah said events began about 8:20 a.m., when officers were sent to check a disturbance at the apartment at Shields and Delno avenues, where a witness reported seeing the armed man. Officers arrived, cordoned off the area and then saw the fire.

Witnesses said the apartment is vacant but often broken into by squatters.