Four Murders in Five Days, Fresno Homicide Rate Rises

FRESNO, Calif.                   |   Watch Video Above for Extended Coverage   |

Four people have been killed in the city since Friday. The latest murder investigation began Tuesday morning, after a man was found shot inside his home.

A father of two was shot to death inside his apartment Tuesday morning. His two children were also in the apartment during a home invasion, robbery and murder. Investigators say this murder appears to be drug related.

Crime scene processors collected evidence at the apartment where Fresno Police say two men broke through two doors before confronting the victim, 30-year-old Juan Salado.

Mark Salazar with the Fresno Police Department said, "They went in there, they knew what they wanted and they left pretty quickly. The only surprise part was the shooting of the victim. That wasn't expected. Generally speaking once you get what you're looking for you usually leave."

Investigators say the suspects demanded money and were given cash, but shot the victim anyway.

The murder marks the 13 for Fresno this year, compared to just six at the same time last year. It's a 116% increase. A spike Police Chief Jerry Dyer hopes does not become a trend, "I'm surprised that the murder rate is up and I'm surprised at the types of murders that we've had."

Dyer says of the 13 murders 10 are related to lifestyle, including individuals involved in gangs, drugs and alcohol. Three others involve suspects with mental health issues.

Of the 13 homicides, nine were committed using guns, two with bats, one using a knife and one a vehicle. Police say guns remain a problem and are easily accessible on the street.

Chief Dyer said, "We still are seeing a significant number of murders occur in our city with people armed with firearms, which is why we have to do all that we have to continue to remove firearms from our street."

The Chief says the unusual element in the murder rate is the number of bizarre cases the city has seen, including the murder last Friday of Yvonne Salazar. Police say she was beaten to death by her husband. And Saturday's murder of Robert West ... he was killed and then pushed around in a shopping cart. His half brother was later arrested.

It's interesting; overall violent crime is down 13.2% in the city. A number of the murders this year are domestic related. As for Tuesday's murder, police only have a vague description of the suspects.

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