John Williams died an hour after he was taken to the hospital. The shooting was reported around 3:30 this morning at G Street and Florence in Southwest Fresno.
Police say Williams was homeless and riding his bike when he was shot. Longtime friends say it was a sad ending to a once promising life.
Fresno police showed up early Tuesday morning to find a man down in the street. Investigators say a passerby who stopped to help the victim ended up in the middle of a crime scene. At first, officers thought John Williams was hit by a car, until emergency crews got a closer look.
Carlos Frausto with the Fresno Police Department explained, "When officers initially located the victim, we did believed at that point we had a vehicle versus bicyclist until emergency medical personnel arrived to assist him and that's when they determined he had sustained a gunshot wound."
Within the past 2 years, Williams lost his mother and some say his life took a turn for the worse. Leon Stamps has known the man many called 'John John' for decades.
"I grew up with him as a kid," said Stamps. "He came up as a nice young man, but other than that he chose the street life so that's when it all went wrong."
Investigators aren't sure what went wrong that led to his death. They are still looking for a motive. But detectives do have some evidence left at the scene that has given them some leads. They will not reveal specifics.
Many officers who patrol this part of town say the victim is well known to hang out in the area where he was found.
Frausto said, "Officers assigned to the district are familiar with the victim and have known to have seen him in the area."
At the apartment complex where Williams last lived with his mom and sister, he is also well known. Many said he was nice and made friends easily. But, Williams also has a lengthy criminal record for everything from drug possession to residential burglary. In his latest cases, he has skipped court 10 times.
Officers say Williams may not be an innocent victim. Right now a handful of people are being interviewed at police headquarters.