Fresno Co. homes searched for drug-related shooting suspects

FRESNO, Calif.

On November 7th 2012, at approximately 12:09 AM, the San Luis Obispo Police Department received a call regarding a man screaming in the area of Santa Rosa Park. San Luis Obispo Police responded and found a man with a gunshot wound in his back.

The man was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated and later released.

"They were unable to remove the bullet from his back, it was lodged between two vertebrae and too close to the spinal cord," said San Luis Obispo Police officer Jeff Smith. "He does have some paralysis in his right leg, but he's expected to hopefully recover."

Smith said the victim was from another county, but wouldn't specify which one. He said, through his investigation, he was able to determine three of the six or seven suspects live in Fresno County.

Around seven o'clock Thursday morning, authorities from San Luis Obispo, Fresno and Clovis Police Departments, as well as the Fresno County Sheriff's Office, served three search warrants at three separate Fresno County homes.

The first was located near the intersection of Brawley and Dakota in East Central Fresno. That's where a SWAT team assisted officers in the search of the home. A neighbor told Action News he saw someone run from the house when officers arrived, but police could not confirm that. Officers, however, combed the neighborhood after receiving the information, but no arrests were made.

At the same time, authorities served a search warrant at a home on Armstrong and Olive in West Central Fresno. The home is located directly across the street from Temperance Kutner Elementary School in the Clovis Unified School District. Spokesperson Kelly Avants said the campus was placed on a "Facility Alert" prior to the start of school.

"We're always in close communication with law enforcement and anytime there is going to be activity near any one of our schools that could spill out into the streets near campus, they're wonderful in letting us know. In this case, in the morning before school started," she said.

That allowed the school officials to make arrangements for students to go directly to the school cafeteria after they were dropped off.

During the search, she said, roads near campus were closed, buses were rerouted and a message went out to parents alerting them of what was going on.

Meantime, officers arrested one person at the home and confiscated between 150 and 200 pounds of processed marijuana.

Fresno County Sheriff Lieutenant Rick Ko said the estimated street value for the drugs is around $500,000 to $1,000,000.

He said, because the suspect there had demonstrated violence in the past, a SWAT team assisted officers in their search.

"In Fresno County, we've had six murders at marijuana grow sites this year and a number of shootings. It's absolutely very dangerous and this really demonstrates how our marijuana is ending up in other places of the state and in the nation, and there's violence associated with that," said Ko.

He said, authorities searched a third undisclosed location, but no arrests were made.

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