Fresno's 5th Officer Involved Shooting

March 28, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
It all started with just a disturbance early this morning. Police said they found a car moving erratically before it turned into the Stonybrook apartment complex on Winery and Balch in Southeast Fresno.Two officers went to investigate and minutes later, shots rang out. Police shot and killed the 23-year-old driver of the car. Over thirty rounds were shot by police. At least one round was fired by Stephen Willis. One officer was shot in the leg. Willis was killed.

Chris Willis woke up Saturday morning to find out his 23-year old son was shot by Fresno police.

"It doesn't make any sense. They just murdered him," cried Willis.

Willis said his son was headed home to his Southeast Fresno apartment complex from a day at the shooting range.

"He was just taking his gun in from the trunk of his car and they started shooting," said Willis.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the department's investigation reveals Willis had been drinking when he erratically drove into his apartment complex.

Two police officers went to investigate. That's when they found Willis with a 6-shooter holstered outside his car.

"It didn't have to turn out this way but unfortunately when the officers gave commands, repeated commands for the firearm to be dropped the individual refused to do so," said Dyer.

A gun battle broke out.

"Officers at that time felt like they were about to be shot," said Dyer.

Bullet holes shredded this van. Investigators said Willis tried to crouch and hide before he was shot and killed. One officer was grazed by a bullet in the left leg. Neighbors said it sounded like the shoot out at the O.K. Corral.

"Bullets! Nothing but shots firing. One right after the other," said Maria Vargas.

"I was laying on the couch and heard heck of gun shots and I got on the floor," said Porsha Smith.

The Willis family said this was gross over-reaction by the Fresno police.

"The police are here to protect us, not execute our children," said Willis.

Police are not sure who fired the shot that hit the officer. He was treated at the scene and released. Willis family lawyers are investigating this shooting on their own.

This is the 5th officer involved shooting in the last three months. 7 officers were involved in shootings last year.

      MORE LOCAL NEWS | TWEET@ABC30 | FREE ABC30 WIDGET
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
Breaking News E-Mail Alerts | Text Message Alerts
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
More News on abc30.com
California/State | National/World | Weather | Entertainment | Business | Politics | Sports | Health Watch | Consumer Watch | Mr. Food |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Load Comments