Weekend of Violence in Fresno

August 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fresno's homicide rate rose suddenly overnight after what's been a relatively calm year.At this time last year, there had been 35 murders. This year, even with two suspected homicides last night, there have been 27.

The first of the overnight homicides happened at First and Saginaw in east central Fresno. Just hours later, police got another call at Franklin and Delno in southwest Fresno.

The Coroner's office released the name of the person found dead in the alley near First and Saginaw. The body of 51-year old Charlene Amparano was found here.

Police were seen going in and out of this alley late Saturday night investigating the death of the woman. The decomposed body of Amparano was found after 9 pm Saturday night. Neighbors say the alley sees a lot of night traffic.

Pete Tomasetti, who lives right next to the alley, says "Kids go back there, drink beer, and throw their beer cans over. Several times we've caught people dumping trash out there so I just wish they'd close the alley off."

Tomasetti was awoken by police at midnight last night, questioning if he'd heard anything. He hadn't. He hopes police get to the bottom of what happened. "To have something like that happen makes me wonder what's going on," says Tomasetti.

Just hours later, near Franklin and Delno Streets, a 15-year old girl was killed by gunfire. People who live close by say shots rang out while a party was going on. One woman who lives right near where the incident happened says she came home to find police cars surrounding her neighborhood. She says, "I just saw that it was taped up. I didn't know what happened and my husband said that he heard a shot."

This weekend's violence comes just days after Fresno Police declare an almost 30% drop in homicides this year as compared to 2007. While the two deaths have scared neighbors, some say they do feel like the crime rate has gone down.

One neighbor says, "I think that it's going down, too. I don't even expect something like that to happen."

At this time last year there were 35 homicides in Fresno. With the 15-year old girl's murder this year's number rises to 26. Police are still investigating the death of the woman found in the alley near First and Saginaw.

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