City of Fresno sees violent weekend with multiple homicides

Police chief Paco Balderrama said most homicides in Fresno are gun-related and more than half of them are gang-related.

Brittany Jacob Image
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
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Fresno police chief Paco Balderrama spoke out after the bloodshed this past weekend, and vowed to be proactive in keeping the community safe.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Temperatures are hot, but violence had cooled down in Fresno this month - until this past weekend.

Yellow crime scene tape littered the city after two men were murdered and multiple people were shot.

In a Monday press conference, Fresno police chief Paco Balderrama spoke out after the bloodshed on Saturday and Sunday.

"We have to address it, we have to get out there, we have to be proactive, we have to do our jobs and we are getting it done," he said.

Authorities say it all started Saturday morning on Orchard and Yale in central Fresno.

RELATED: Man shot and killed in central Fresno, police say

When officers arrived on scene, they found 73-year-old Robert Torres suffering from several gunshot wounds. He died on scene.

Later that evening, officers responded to the Courtyard Apartments on Cornelia in northwest Fresno.

That's when authorities located 20-year-old Monte Jordan suffering from a gunshot wound. He also died at the scene.

RELATED: Man shot and killed near northwest Fresno apartment complex

Right now, detectives are looking for suspects and investigating if Jordan had any connections to gangs.

The chief says this time last year, the City of Fresno had 51 homicides, and right now the city is at 38. That's a 25% decrease.

While it was a busy weekend for his department, Balderrama said they are still slated to meet their goals in decreasing violence in the city.

"Anytime a firearm is being discharged openly in a community such as Fresno, it's a public safety concern to me, but we have to keep things in perspective - the fact that we are experiencing about 34% fewer shootings than last year means we are making some progress," Balderrama said.

The chief said most of the homicides in Fresno are gun-related and more than half of them are gang-related.

RELATED: 2 teenagers wounded in northwest Fresno shooting

Two things are concerning him.

One - the number of rounds being fired, upwards of 60 rounds in some scenarios.

And two - the increase in ghost guns that are being recovered on the street.

Nearly 30% of the guns are unregistered firearms.

He said that's why they will continue to be relentless in their efforts, especially with the holiday weekend around the corner.

"You are going to see a lot of black-and-white units out there, being proactive, pulling people over, making contact with individuals in high-crime areas so we can keep the community safe," he said.

Chief Balderrama said he and his team will go back to the drawing board and go through every shooting and homicide to determine if there's any connection.