Minkler Residents Say Shooting Could Have Been Prevented

FRESNO, Calif. The letter from the /*Minkler*/ community sent to Reedley, Clovis, and Fresno Police Departments as well as the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.

The main target however is the Sheriff's Office and how residents feel their cries for help before the shooting -- went unanswered.

Mary Novack said, "I'm sure they didn't take me seriously a few times. I wish I would have done more."

Bullet holes still show a painful memory for Mary Novack at the Minkler Cash Store.

In late February, /*Rick Liles*/ opened fire on investigators serving a search warrant at a trailer he lived in, across the street. A Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy and a Reedley Police Officer were killed.

Now Novack, and other Minkler residents are questioning if the situation could have been prevented. They sent a letter to local law enforcement agencies on March 22nd -- detailing Liles' dangerous history with them.

"With the known danger why would you send your men into a ticking time bomb situation?"

Novack said, "If there was even a concern? If you knew there was a gun in there that might kill somebody why would you do that?"

Novack believes they weren't taken seriously by detectives in the months leading up to the shooting.

Attached to the letter was the cash store's criminal activity report, which showed eleven calls of a shooting to Sheriff's Deputies.

Sheriff Margaret Mims says the department is still finalizing their internal investigation as well as waiting for the Fresno Police Department to finish theirs.

"We'll be out there interviewing people, taking a look at what happened. We'll have maps, we'll have diagrams, we'll have radio tapes in addition to the completed reports," said Mims.

Mims did not admit any wrongdoing in their investigation but says hind sight is always 20-20 when it comes to a situation like this.

"We have to go based on what we know when. And that's what this investigation will help us reveal," said Mims.

Mary Novack says they hope an unbiased third party investigation will be conducted to help local law enforcement learn from what they perceive to be a miscommunication and mishandling between the agencies.

They say they just don't want something like this to happen in their town again, preferably with the help of the Sheriff's Office.

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