FPD prepares for possible gang retaliation

March 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Fresno police pursuit happened just moments before officers opened fire on a murder suspect. Authorities say they're on high alert for armed gang members who may plan to retaliate against the department. The officer-involved shooting happened Sunday afternoon near Arthur and Strother Avenues in southwest Fresno.

Fresno Police say the man they shot was wanted for an early morning murder. They got several reports that gang members plan to target an officer today following that shooting.

Hours after gunfire Fresno police flew through a neighborhood with guns drawn and on edge. A cell phone video was taken by a witness moments after that shooting. Many who witnessed the chase and the gunshots didn't want to appear on camera.

"He jumped out the car and took off running, they said stop freeze, pow, pow, pow they shot him," one witness said.

Family members say Jerel Stanfield was shot several times. We talked to Chantal Lewis outside of the hospital while her son was still in surgery.

Lewis said, "My son is actually a good son, he is a good person, he has been in trouble in his lifetime, he don't deserve to get shot down."

Fresno police say the 24-year-old is a known gang member who was wanted in connection to a murder Sunday morning. Investigators say they tracked down Stanfield's black SUV and tried to make a traffic stop.

When he refused to stop, a chase began. It ended after officers pinned his SUV in a neighborhood and Stanfield started running.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "At some point the suspect according to the officers made some type of movement that officers believed he was arming himself. The officers did fire the weapons at the suspect and when they were detaining him they did locate a handgun on him."

Detectives say shortly after the shooting they started getting reports about a possible retaliation from other gang members.

Dyer said, "This particular gang has taken steps to arm themselves and have made it well known that they are going to shoot a Fresno police officer."

Stanfield's family members say he is innocent and would never harm anyone.

"I am praying my son is going to be okay," Lewis said.

Officers say Stanfield was also wanted for assault with a deadly weapon.

Stanfield's mother told Action News her son went into surgery Sunday, and at last check he was in critical condition.


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