Fresno police: Problems among gangs lead to 5 murders in 2 weeks

Police say rising tension and personal problems among gang members has led to five murders in Fresno within two weeks.
March 31, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police say rising tension and personal problems among gang members has led to five murders in Fresno within two weeks. During the same time, officers have been called out to 18 shootings, and of those, 14 people were hit.

The police chief is seeing a disturbing trend. Even though these are gang-related shootings and murders, eight of them have happened in broad daylight between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Shattered glass and candles sit on the corner of Arthur and Hawes in Southwest Fresno. Police say Jason Rooters, 28, was shot in the head early Sunday morning by a suspect who witnesses say shot Rooters and another man and ran away.

Across town, candles and graffiti mark the spot in Mayfair where investigators say Manuel Murrillo, 23, was shot and killed Saturday night. A red poster on the fence reads "All Dogs go to Heaven."

"Whenever we have Hispanic gangs going after Hispanic gangs, and black gangs going after black gangs at the same time, it becomes very concerning because it taxes our resources, and 18 shootings in the last two weeks with five murders is something that we take very, very seriously, which is why we are going to continue with these ongoing operations," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Officers are not only patrolling areas where gang members meet and hang out, they are also serving search warrants to get more guns off the streets and disrupt their lives.

Last week, Janee Tatum was shot and killed inside the Crossroads bar. Investigators say she was not a gang member but was the target of a West Fresno gang.

Chief Dyer says even though shootings are down from the same time last year, so far in 2014, the guns have overwhelmingly been the preferred method of murder, and shooters are hitting their intended targets more often.

"What we are seeing is more people that are being killed as a result of those shootings -- not surviving their injuries," said Dyer. "What we've also seen this year is that 80 percent of our murders are occurring with the use of a firearm, whereas in years past, it's been about 60 percent."

Sundays have been the most violent days over the past two weeks; seven of the 18 shootings happened on Sunday, and four happened on a Monday.

Three of the murders in the past week all remain unsolved. No arrests have been made, but police say they have credible leads they are following.


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