Fresno homicide rate increases in 2012

FRESNO, Calif.

But this year the stats stand out and even police are surprised by the type of crimes they saw in 2012.

Usually the rise in crime is associated with gangs or some sort of gang violence but this year the murders are in a different category.

2012 started with the deaths of four people. Detectives said Aide Mendez shot her children and her cousin before turning the gun on herself.

Then in March a neighbor dispute over a dog and a common fence started with a murder and ended with a suicide in the River Park area.

A month later police say Charles Hudiburg killed his 81-year-old father with a hammer.

The year would continue with family members friends and loved ones turning on one another, accounting for 18 of the city's 51 murders this year.

"We have not seen in our city so many murders involving family, friends and coworkers as we have this year," Chief Jerry Dyer said.

The chief admits 2011 was a low year. The city only saw 35 homicides.

This year saw 200 gang related shootings. 28 of them had a fatal ending. But Dyer says the statistics involving interpersonal relationships stand out.

"It's unique to see this many interpersonal disputes that lead to murder. People are more quick to resort to weapon when they become emotionally charged," Dyer said.

In September an Edison High football player was killed after a game of Russian Roulette at a Central Fresno apartment.

After the shooting the teen was dragged onto a sidewalk to make it appear he was the victim of a drive-by shooting.

This election day 42-year-old Lawrence Jones killed 2 co-workers, injured two more and eventually committed suicide at Valley Protein.

Investigators say Jones had a metal disorder and strange fantasies..

The chief says his operations have decreased gang violence but there's no operation that can fix crimes in this category.

"Certainly, we have to, as a society, get our hands around the mental illness issue, it's contributing to a significant numbers within our community to include murder," Dyer said.

The chief says aside from homicides the number of violent crimes is down about 5 percent.

He also says his anti-gang operations will continue into 2013 as they've been successful.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.