Man forces 10-hour standoff with police in Central Fresno

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Paul Mesa, 46, locked himself inside a closed market on Blackstone Avenue after neighbors reported shots fired in the area. (KFSN)

A 10-hour standoff ended peacefully Thursday morning after Fresno Police sent a canine in to get the suspect to surrender.

Officials say the dog was the best option after a long night of unsuccessful negotiations that forced several blocks of Blackstone Avenue to be closed off.

Detectives say 46-year-old Paul Mesa was squatting in this vacant business.

After he was taken into custody, officers found ammunition on him. He was already wanted on three felony counts, now he faces three more.

Mesa was finally lured out of the once Philippine Market carrying a football before he was taken down by a police dog. The move came hours after SWAT officers tried to talk him into surrendering without luck.

"We used a robot, it brought a device to him," Lt. Joe Gomez with the Fresno Police Department said. "That's what we did."

Patience paid off in waiting the suspect out.

Officers weren't sure if Mesa was armed but they did know he had a long criminal record.

Just Monday, a warrant was issued for his arrest for battery on a police officer. Mesa had two other active warrants for drug possession and evading arrest.

Officers were called out to the vacant market by a citizen who reported a man and woman fighting in the store and then several shots fired.

When police showed up, their first contact with mesa concerned them.

"He had chained the front door of the market and as officers were walking up they heard shots fired inside the building," Gomez said.

Investigators say the wanted man was acting erratic. They believe he was under the influence of drugs and has mental health problems.

At one point during the standoff, it appears the suspect may have fallen asleep.

"4-Charles-32, so far no more yelling," police dispatchers announced on the radio. "No more movement."

The suspect's motive is unclear.

Mesa was interviewed by officers after he was treated for dog bites at the hospital but did not provide any information about why he was agitated.

At least one time during the standoff, Mesa threw the phone out.
Related Topics:
newsstandofffresnofresno police departmentarrestFresno - Central
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