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Man shot outside church unintended victim of gang war, police say

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Police say he was not a gang member but was caught up in a gang war. (KFSN)

Police say he was not a gang member but was caught up in a gang war.

Zurich Chatman was standing in front of a church on Lee Street Saturday morning getting ready to leave for a Black History Month trip to Allensworth when Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he was senselessly shot in the head.

"What we believe is that perhaps he was the intended target but based on mistaken identity," Dyer explained.

Detectives say Chatman is not a gang member. He's the boyfriend of the minister's daughter and was a student at Fresno City College. By all accounts, he had his life together but Chatman knew violence was all around him and he addressed it in a Facebook video posted last year.

The seemingly constant shootings, that are injuring and even killing some higher-ranking gang members, has caused the battle to be highly emotional.

There's been some level of disrespect to leaders on each side of the gangs and as a result of that, it's caused a number of directions or orders to be given for shootings to occur.

Last week, officers took 25 guns away from gang members. Seventy-five additional officers have been working the streets in double units at an overtime cost of about $25,000 from Thursday to Sunday.

Chief Dyer says Sunday was a good sign, there were no shootings, but he knows the fighting isn't over.

"We had information from the higher-ups on each side of the gangs that regardless of our efforts, they're going to continue to do what they do. That we won't be able to stop them. I disagree with that statement."

The gun battles have become such a problem that officers showing up in full force to funerals of gang members, just to make sure there are no retaliation shootings.

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shootinggang violenceFresno
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