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Witnesses afraid to come forward after Central Fresno shooting

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It has been one day since a 26-year-old man was murdered in a shooting on a busy section of Blackstone Avenue in Central Fresno and witnesses are afraid to talk. (KFSN)

It has been one day since a 26-year-old man was murdered in a shooting on a busy section of Blackstone Avenue in Central Fresno. Witnesses are afraid to talk because the suspects are well known in the area.

Investigators said Barkete Shita died after he crashed his car at Blackstone near Dakota Thursday afternoon. Several surveillance cameras in the area captured the shooting.

Fresno police said Shita was gunned down seconds after pulling into a parking lot near Jiffy Lube on Blackstone. Within seconds two suspects were face to face with him and firing. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said officers are trying to figure out why Shita was targeted.

"We do know that the suspects actually ran after the vehicle and were firing at it as the vehicle was driving away. And we also know that the individual who is a victim of this crime is not a gang member to our knowledge and he has really had no contact with him."

Investigators said the entire homicide was caught on several cameras in the area. Officers are now using the video to track down the suspects.

On Friday, several people who live and work in the area didn't want to talk about what they saw for fear the armed suspects may find out.

The victim drove off Thursday and made it a block before losing consciousness and hitting a Smart Car. The driver of the Smart Car suffered minor injuries.

Chief Dyer said officers are also trying to figure out whether the suspects had a prior, ongoing, or spur of the moment conflict with the victim.

The shooting comes during a violent month in Fresno. Police have investigated nine homicides this month-- more than any other month this year.

Dyer believes a 15-percent spike in violent crime citywide will decline with the opening of the Central Police Substation-- which is opening and operational in Manchester Center beginning Monday.

"Often times, violent crime is driven by that central core and whether it is talking about the areas to the south which is Divisadero to Belmont, or if we're talking about that area that's adjacent to Manchester-- Pontiac and Effie. There're several areas within that central boundary that have a history of violent crime."

So within the next few months there will be a lot more police presence in this area. Nearly 40 more officers will be working there by January.

Related Topics:
fresnoshootinghomicide investigationfresno police departmentFresno - Central
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