Suspect arrested after unhoused man beaten to death in downtown Fresno: PD

Thursday, August 31, 2023
Man arrested for deadly assault of 66-year-old in downtown Fresno: PD
EMBED <>More Videos

An unhoused Fresno man is dead after being attacked on Saturday outside the Fresno Mission.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An unhoused Fresno man is dead after being attacked on Saturday outside the Fresno Mission.

Fresno police say 66-year-old Frank Placencia was kicked in the head after being accused of touching another unhoused man's belongings.

The suspect, 30-year-old Johnny Hines is now behind bars at the Fresno County Jail and is expected to face murder changes.

An anonymous woman wanted to speak with us about how she feels unsafe in the area with her children.

"We all live here together, and I was hoping to just see who he is and just so I could pray for him and the way he passed," said a Fresno Mission resident.

"We have to walk by here every day to get in with our families and stuff, so yeah, it's not safe."

On Saturday night, the Fresno Police Department responded to calls of an assault.

When officers arrived, they found Placencia unresponsive with trauma to his head.

He was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

Police said it was a physical altercation with 30-year-old Johnny Hines that led to Placencia's death.

"Mr. Hines was accusing Placencia of rummaging through his property. As a result of rummaging through his personal property, Mr. Hines was involved in a physical altercation with Frank. The altercation resulted in Mr. Placencia on the ground," said Lieutenant Paul Cervantes.

Investigators said it was surveillance video that helped them identify and capture Hines.

The video, too graphic for us to show on TV, shows Hines stomping and kicking Placencia in the head several times.

Placencia's death marks seventh murder of a person experiencing homelessness in the City of Fresno this year.

It's one more murder involving an unhoused person than all of last year.

"The street, unfortunately, is the number one killer of people in Fresno. It happens much more frequently than people even realize," said Fresno Mission CEO Matthew Dildine.

Dildine is heartbroken to hear of Placencia's passing.

Just last month, police say Patricia Roper was stabbed to death near Blackstone and Griffith in central Fresno. Both Roper and the suspect were unhoused.

In May, Jonathan Garcia was stabbed to death in west central Fresno. He was found near a Taco Bell.

We are talking about a segment of our community that's already operating in a tough environment so it's unfortunate and it's tragic," explained Fresno Police Lt. Paul Cervantes.

The Fresno Mission says there is a lot of violence on the streets among the unhoused.

It may not always escalate to murder, but it is concerning.

"Frank had been with us off and on for some time. But in this latest stint, he was with us for a number of weeks. He was doing really well. And then August 14th, he said, 'Hey, I'm not gonna stay here'," said Dildine.

The organization wanted Placencia to stay at the shelter.

Dildine said, sadly, the decision to leave put Placencia on the street, where he later died.

The Fresno County District Attorney's Office said they will review the case on Thursday.

They could file charges against Hines for murder.

The Mission's shelter is consistently full and it's always working to get as many people accommodated as possible.

For news updates, follow Vince Ybarra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates, follow Vince Ybarra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.