Officer injured in Southeast Fresno shooting previously honored

The three officers who were injured after a gun battle in Southeast Fresno walked right into a trap.
November 6, 2013 2:55:34 PM PST
The three officers who were injured after a gun battle in Southeast Fresno walked right into a trap. An anonymous tip led a special task force to an apartment complex where Jerry Vue had been hiding. They had been after Vue for more than a year as he was wanted for kidnapping, rape and torture.

Albert Najera, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of California says "Mr. Vue had been very good about not being caught."

He was so evasive, that local, state and federal agents sent a special task force to go after him. The officers spotted Vue, a man wanted for kidnapping, rape and torture, and went inside the apartment complex to find him. Vue's nephew told officers that he was not inside- but the task force went inside the apartment to verify.

"It was at that time that suspect Jerry Vue who was hiding under clothing appeared suddenly and ambushed the officers from that point," Chief Jerry Dyer said.

Vue was hiding underneath a pile of clothing, and the Chief says, as soon as the officers walked into the garage area, he started shooting. He initially fired three rounds. One hit parole agent Nate Castro square in the chest. A bullet proof vest saved his life. A deputy U.S. Marshal was hit in the stomach, and Fresno County Sheriff's deputy Robert McEwen was hit by shrapnel.

All of the officers on that task force are highly trained, specialized to go after what Federal Agents say are the worst of the worst offenders. Action News has learned Detective Robert McEwen has been honored before. Back in 2011, he got the Governor's Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor for his role in the Minkler incident.

He was on the same task force back in February of 2010. The group went to serve a warrant and detective Joel Wahlenmaier got shot. McEwen covered him with his own body to protect him from further harm. Wahlenmaier and Reedley Police Officer Javier Bejar did not survive the incident. When asked about McEwen's background, Chief Jerry Dyer said, "If I were going to get into a gun battle I'd want him by my side."

McEwen has also worked on high profile investigations. Action News was there as he escorted convicted rapist Spencer Scarber into custody, after he was captured in Mexico.

While just another day on the job for them, Chief Jerry Dyer says their everyday efforts are often the difference between life and death.

The chief also said that Vue had made comments in the past that he would not be taken alive. The three officers who were injured are home recovering and still giving their statements about what happened.


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