Victim identified in Northwest Fresno shooting rampage

Family members say a veteran survived bullets in Vietnam only to die in a Fresno carjacking.
January 17, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Family members say a veteran survived bullets in Vietnam only to die in a Fresno carjacking. Police say Joshua Lewis, 21, is the man responsible for a violent shooting rampage in Northwest Fresno that ended with two carjacking's, two people injured and two people dead.

The whole incident lasted less than an hour and it ended when Joshua Lewis crashed into a ditch. Lewis got out, but only managed to walk a few feet before dying.

Lewis' violent rampage left a lasting impact. Police say Lewis fired several times into traffic on Shaw near Polk, using a 44 magnum revolver. Two of those shots went into Nhia Lee's pickup truck, killing the 65-year-old, and injuring his wife.

The Lee's had a large get together at their house Friday to grieve their loss. His daughter translated as Lee's older brother told Action News, in his native tongue, that he and Nhia Lee worked for the US during the Vietnam War. They immigrated to the US for the peace this country seemed to offer.

"No matter how many people we saw in the war, we were able to be safe and he doesn't understand why it is such things happen in this beautiful country," Daughter Stephanie Lee said.

Detectives say they may never know why Lewis went on a shooting rampage in Northwest Fresno. Officers say the violence could have been much worse were it not for an off-duty correctional officer.

The shooting rampage started at 5:21 Thursday night when Joshua Lewis crashed his van at Marks and Emerson. Lewis ran away, approached a red pickup and forced the driver to take him to a home near Shaw and Polk.

At 5:40 p.m. Lewis walked out onto Shaw into traffic and started firing a revolver. He shot the driver of a blue van in the stomach, and then he walked up to a pickup truck, killing Nhia Lee in front of his wife who was also shot in the arm.

Police say Lewis then walked back out onto Shaw and fired into the window of a Ford Focus, before shooting at an SUV. The 19-year-old driver of that SUV grabbed his 5-year-old brother and shielded him, worried there would be more gunfire.

Chief Jerry Dyer said an off duty correctional officer watched as Lewis' revolver dry fired. The officer then fired his own weapon right at Lewis.

"Fortunately this off duty CDCR Sergeant intervened and acted very heroically, fortunately he was armed, and as a result of his actions he prevented the 19-year-old from being shot as he was running from the vehicle," Dyer said.

Lewis, injured, took the SUV and drove eight miles into Fresno County before crashing into a ditch. He got out of the car and died in a canal.

Police say Joshua Lewis is a validated gang member with a criminal history. They are still trying to talk to his family members, but investigators said they are just as devastated and confused as everyone else.

CLICK TO HEAR A TIMELINE OF EVENTS FROM A PRESS CONFERENCE WITH FRESNO POLICE CHIEF JERRY DYER.


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