Dispute over rent led to deadly shooting in east central Fresno, police say

Investigators say the shooting was likely related to a dispute over unpaid rent.

Jessica Harrington Image
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Dispute over rent led to deadly shooting in east central Fresno, police say
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We now know the identity of a man shot and killed in East Central Fresno.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Murder over unpaid rent. That's what authorities are saying happened in east-central Fresno.

The alleged gunman, Ira Lewis, was in court for the first time Wednesday.

Charged with murder, the 79-year-old did not enter a plea and our cameras were not allowed to show his face.

Fresno Police officers arrested Lewis Saturday.

Officers had responded to a victim of a shooting in the area of Dakota and Hayston Avenues.

They found 56-year-old Michael Brady with multiple gunshot wounds.

He died at the hospital.

"Just prior to the shooting detectives believe Brady was outside in the front of the location when he was confronted by Lewis," Fresno Police Lt. Paul Cervantes said.

Detectives say that confrontation was over unpaid rent.

Lewis was Brady's landlord.

Investigators say Brady had been living at the home, on the same property where Lewis lives, for the last five years.

Authorities say there's been an ongoing dispute over rent since February.

"Mr. Lewis did provide them with a 30-day notice and then ultimately, unfortunately, tragically, ended with the death of Mr. Brady," Lt. Cervantes said.

Brady's wife was home at the time of the shooting and told investigators Lewis walked back into his house after shooting her husband.

Lewis was taken into custody and then officers spent the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday trying to find the alleged murder weapon.

After multiple search warrants, investigators found the firearm in the basement of Lewis' home.

Lewis, who hasn't had any contact with law enforcement in decades, told detectives he had nothing to do with Brady's death.

"He denied any involvement. He did not appear to have any injuries, wasn't injured - physically, to us and those are details were going to have to figure out as he makes his way through the court proceedings," Lt. Cervantes said.

Lewis is being held on $1.5 million bail.

He's expected to be back in court next week.

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