Violent Fresno weekend culminates in murder

FRESNO, Calif.

The most violent incident happened in the parking lot of the Vagabond Inn just off Highway 99 at Jensen. A 36-year-old man was shot and killed, his girlfriend was pistol-whipped, and her mother is one of the two suspects police are trying to find.

Crime scene tape surrounded several spots in Fresno over the weekend. At a Southwest Fresno hotel, a personal dispute ended in murder. Police initially responded to a shooting a mile and a half away at a boarding house. Nobody was hit there, but 30 minutes later, the deadly shooting.

"They know each other," said Fresno police Lt. Mark Salazar. "They're semi-related and so there is some bad blood between them, supposedly a dispute over money or property."

Police say Cosmen Alvarez was the gunman and his girlfriend, Yolanda Aviles, is also wanted. Investigators say both Alvarez and the 36-year-old victim have backgrounds in the drug trade and that may have contributed to the shooting.

"We started doing search warrants and we found three pounds of marijuana in the victims' car," Lt. Salazar said. "We found several cellular phones."

The victim's girlfriend was also pistol-whipped during the confrontation. Detectives say Aviles is her mother.

There was also a family connection in a Saturday stabbing police have already solved. A 35-year-old man was arrested for knifing his own uncle during a family party in Southeast Fresno.

And on Sunday, three suspects attacked a 72-year-old man after knocking on his door looking for a relative. Police are still looking for them.

But they caught Arturo Jimenez after he stole an ambulance Sunday night. The 27-year-old was booked for auto theft and driving drunk.

"It was busy starting Friday or Thursday night into this whole weekend," Lt. Salazar said.

Even after the wild weekend, police say street violence numbers are still down significantly for 2013.

Alvarez and Aviles apparently cleared out of the boarding house where they were staying, but police do not believe they've left town. They were last seen driving a gray sedan away from the hotel.

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