FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Officers say Southwest Fresno is, unfortunately, home base for a lot of gangs. After the most recent homicide, police are determined to act before retaliation on either side.
In the hotbed of crime near Fruit and Hawes, a heart shaped vigil bravely flickers. The brief moment of peace coming after a wave of violence leaving a friend and father gunned down on these very streets.
"I can't believe, this is like a nightmare and I can't wake up out of it," said Salvador Silva Jr., victim's friend.
Sgt. Robert Gonzales hasn't forgotten Tyrese Bennett's death and neither have other officers on the violent crime impact team. It was the final trigger pushing them to act after a month-long increase of violence in the Southwest District.
"There's good people that live in the neighborhoods. It's always a sad deal when you have subjects that take that neighborhood over."
The homicide was the district's 13th of the year. In the past two weeks, officers have continuously patrolled problem areas. Vigorously going after West Side gang members before they could retaliate.
"It's not just stopping somebody, 'oh let's do a probation search.' It's knowing the percentage of people causing the problems and going after them-- zero tolerance," said Gonzales.
The results are promising-- in the last two weeks, there have been six shootings compared to two weeks before that when there were 13.
Officers said church leaders continue to chip in with helpful information.
"That's how we are able to get that intelligence to go to different neighborhoods or community members saying, 'I'm tired of this violence happening,'" said Gonzales.
Families say they're hopeful the peace will last longer than before, but more importantly that Bennett's death will mean something.
"When they going to grow up. When is it going to stop? How many guys is it going to take to realize it isn't right," said Silva.
Since the operation started, several known gang members have been arrested and multiple guns, as well as drugs, were also confiscated.