Fresno Fire Chief J. Robert Brown arrested, released from jail

FRESNO, Calif.

He was later booked into the Fresno County Jail and released around 6:30 Thursday morning after posting bail. Brown told Action News crews outside the jail that it was a "family matter".

Deputies responded to Brown's home around 9 p.m. Wednesday night. Before arriving at the scene, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said they had been advised that Brown had assaulted family members, was acting violent, and had been pepper sprayed by a family member.

The Sheriff's office said when they arrived at the scene, Brown was standing in his front yard, was visibly intoxicated, and initially did not cooperate with deputies. They said he was eventually handcuffed, and booked into the Fresno County Jail.

"When deputies arrived on scene they made contact with Brown who was in the front yard of the residence. Initially he was extremely uncooperative with deputies, refusing his commands. They were ordering him to do specific things, he was refusing," said Chris Curtice, Fresno County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators said Brown had apparently assaulted and threatened to kill family members at his home. They said the fire chief was drunk when he punched another family member twice and knocked them to the ground. They said Brown was pepper sprayed more than once during the incident as family members attempted to intervene.

Investigators say Brown was drinking earlier in the evening at a local establishment and had gotten a ride home from a family member prior to the domestic problems. It's unclear how the issues began, but at least one family member called 911 to report the violence.

An emergency protective order has been issued, so Brown is not permitted to return to his home or come near the family member he's accused of assaulting.

Brown has been Fresno's top fire official since April 2012. He came from Virginia with 30 years of fire and emergency management experience. According to a biography released by the city when Brown was hired, he has been married for more than 20 years and has four children.

City manager Mark Scott announced Brown has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation and Deputy Chief Kerri Donis will serve as acting chief in his absence.


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