Threats to FPD reduced, but funeral could pose danger

April 11, 2013 12:59:01 AM PDT
It's been 11 days now since the officer-involved shooting that prompted gang threats to Fresno police officers.

The threat seems to be greatly reduced since FPD launched a large scale gang operation according to police Chief Jerry Dyer. But he's not ready to call off the intense police presence, and there's one event that's still very concerning.

Jerel Stanfield poses no threat to Fresno police right now. The murder suspect sat in court in a wheelchair Tuesday, half paralyzed, ten days after two Fresno police officers shot him while trying to arrest him.

Stanfield's associates may be a different story, though. Police say they immediately started threatening police, especially the officers who shot Stanfield. That prompted this gang crackdown, which Chief Jerry Dyer says has already paid big dividends.

"The threats against the officers at least from what we're hearing, is diminished," he said. "We have been serving several warrants on individuals that were believed to be making those threats."

Dyer says Bobby Phelps is one of those people. Officers arrested him Tuesday and seized a rifle, three guns and lots of ammunition. But more important than locking up gang members, Dyer says, is making entire neighborhoods feel safe again.

The recent increase in police presence in Southwest Fresno is noticed, and welcomed, by many residents.

"I think that's a good thing myself," one of them told Action News. "I think the more they're in the area, the less crime you're going to have."

Action News talked to a few folks who didn't want to be identified. They said the crackdown has, for now, calmed their fears of being accidental victims of gun violence in the neighborhood. But even police are concerned about the upcoming funeral for Will Simpson -- the man Stanfield is accused of murdering. Officers say his services in Downtown Fresno could create a target rich environment.

"Unfortunately, gang members know that there will be other gang members -- rival gang members at that funeral which allows for people to become vulnerable," Dyer said..

He says police will have an increased presence in and around the funeral and a SWAT team ready to deploy.


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