Family Feud Leaves Two Dead in Fresno

June 12, 2009 6:00:10 PM PDT
Fresno detectives have already arrested one man in connection with Thursday's deadly shooting in central Fresno. But they are still looking for Alberto and Antonio Salas who are brothers. Action News reporter John-Thomas Kobos shows the pattern of violence leading up to this deadly encounter.Fresno Police are very familiar with this neighborhood and the two families involved. Since January they've responded to several threats and fights between the Salas's and Mendez's.

Thursday morning police attempted to break up three family feuds before the fatal shooting.

Police are still removing evidence from the home where two people were gunned down Thursday night in this Central Fresno neighborhood.

Investigators said a neighbor, Benito Salas and his two brothers Alberto and Antonio shot and killed 33-year old Pablo Mendez and his brother 49-year old Jose Mendez.

A third man, 26-year old David Plascencia, was shot in the face but is expected to survive. Neighbors say the feud between the two families was bound to turn deadly one day.

"They'll start drinking. And just anger, animosity that has built over years," said Cassandra Clark.

In the last six months investigators settled several flare-ups between the families but neither side pressed charges.

"What we do believe is there was a fear on the part of the victims to report or cooperate because of a fear of retaliation," said Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Dyer said Thursday morning police responded to an argument between the Salas and Mendez families at an elementary school.

One hour later police broke up another fight at their home and then one more time again before it turned deadly later that night at a graduation party with several young children present.

Dyer now worries someone might try to strike back. "But the reality is there is a high potential for retaliation," said Dyer.

Police will be stationed, indefinitely, on this block to prevent further attacks or threats from happening.

Investigators managed to recover one of the guns they say was used Thursday night.

If you have any information regarding the two men detectives are looking for you are asked to contact the police.

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