Fresno Police say Jerel Stanfield had a gun in his pants and was making a threatening motion when officers fired. He was in critical condition Monday night and police are trying to stop retaliation.
Officers say the man they shot Sunday has a high status within a West Fresno gang and now police are tying him to several other violent crimes -- in addition to murder. Fresno Police say 23-year-old Will Simpson was gunned down early Easter morning near Ashlan and Effie in Central Fresno.
"It was about three in the morning when there was some type of a disturbance between the victim and the suspect. Ultimately he was shot as he was positioned in front of the car," said Jerry Dyer, Fresno Police Chief.
A three-year-old toddler and his mother were in the car with Simpson when the confrontation began. They were not hurt during the shooting.
Within hours after the murder, officers identified Jerel Stanfield as the suspect. Officers were trailing him in Southwest Fresno on Sunday afternoon and Action News captured some of the moments leading up to the shooting.
Monday, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Stanfield is being tied to several violent crimes within the city in recent weeks. "He was involved in a pursuit and we believe he's responsible for the murder that occurred earlier in the day as well as being involved in other shootings within our city," said Dyer.
Fresno Police officers patrolling rode with partners on Monday -- heavily armed and carrying many rounds of ammo.
Nearby, Stanfield's family spent some of the day cleaning up the area where emergency crews treated him after the shooting. Stanfield's mother disputes claims her son was armed when he was shot by police.
"They are saying they may have had a weapon, to my understanding but it wasn't on his person. He was shot in his back and in the back of his head. As far as I know, if somebody is running away from you, you are not in danger," said Chantal Lewis, Stanfield's mother.
Police are now testing the gun they recovered to see if it was the weapon used in the murder.
The murder victim's family say they are thankful police tracked the suspect down.
As for the suspect, his mother visited him on Monday and said he opened his eyes and lifted his arm.