Victim in fatal stabbing was well known in Fresno's Tower District

May 25, 2013 12:01:30 AM PDT
Friends describe a murder victim as a passionate man who loved photography and video projects. Friday, they're heartbroken after he was stabbed to death in the Tower District.

Homicide investigators are trying to find out why someone would target 32-year-old Eric Catlapp. The media entrepreneur was working at a 24 hour internet workplace called Hashtag, right before he was murdered.

Investigators say this happened very fast. Even though quite a few people were in this area at the time, so far officers have no actual witnesses to the murder.

Sam Chaney still can't believe his friend was murdered just four hours after they produced a live internet show together.

"He was a great friend," said Chaney. "You ask the guy for a favor and he would do you a favor and he was an honest guy and you don't meet many people like that nowadays."

Shocked friends describe Eric Catlapp as a creative man who loved taking pictures and video and then editing and producing projects.

Catlapp was working at Hashtag early Friday morning when friends told investigators he left momentarily.

"We do know that the victim left the business for just a few minutes," said Pat Farmer with the Fresno Police Department. "Something transpired while he was outside the business where he was assaulted."

A trail of blood leading back into Hashtag shows where police say the victim made it before he asked his friends to call police, then collapsed. He died two hours later.

Right next door to Hashtag, Tower Sports Club was open, and customers and bartenders said nothing seemed out of the ordinary. But when a fire truck showed up, that's when bar employees noticed a path of blood leading to the restroom. They are now wondering if the suspect came into the bar after the murder.

Friday crime scene processors collected evidence from inside the bar. Catlapp's car, which was parked right in front of Hashtag, was also towed away.

Investigators are now looking at video policing cameras and surveillance from inside Hashtag for more clues.

Chaney says he and many others who worked on media projects with Catlapp at CMAC, or Community Media Access Collaborative, are devastated and hoping someone comes forward with information.

"He was 32 years old, so that's pretty young to die, for nothing apparently."

Catlapp did have a valuable camera with him during the murder. Police have now taken possession of that.

Friends say the victim used to live in Southern California, but moved to the Valley just over a year ago.


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