Water Festival Murder

FRESNO, Calif.

Police say around 2:00 p.m., a fight erupted between more than a dozen people. It happened in a field just a few hundred yards away from where games were being played.

When investigators arrived, they discovered the body of a man in his late teens or early twenties.

"The officers immediately called the ambulance for a code 3 response, and immediately began first aid and even CPR. Unfortunately, our victim did not survive his injuries."

Viley Vang of Fresno was at the water festival when the fight broke out. She says the event is normally peaceful. "I feel safe here but I sympathize for the family."

Every year, the festival draws in 30,000 Hmong and Lao visitors from all over the country. They come to watch and participate in a number of activities, which mostly includes sporting events.

Fresno has hosted the event since 2000. And this is the first year; there has been a major violent crime incident, let alone a murder.

"It's sad. Everyone is shocked." Pao Fang of the Lao family of Fresno helped organize the three day event.

After Saturday's incident, he met with the Fresno Police Department, as well as the city's parks and recreation division to decide whether the event will continue through Memorial Day as planned.

The festival will proceed but with caution. Organizers plan to double their security force on Sunday and Monday. They'll also be on the lookout for suspected gang activity.

"So we make sure that officer from the entrance gate all the way to the tournament and everywhere that we have a police officer available and we'll pay close attention to all the movement in the park and make sure all the participants are safe."

The victim has not been identified. Police did question several people Saturday but earlier told us no arrests have been made.

Saturday afternoon's death puts Fresno's homicide rate at 25 for the year compared to just 12 during the same period last year.

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