Surge in gang violence sends 7 people to the hospital in 5 separate shootings in Fresno

Sunday, February 11, 2018
Surge in gang violence sends 7 people to the hospital in 5 separate shootings in Fresno
Gang violence escalating over the last 48 hours has Fresno police exhasuting all efforts to bring peace to the community.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Police plans to saturate the streets with 75 additional officers this weekend after gun violence erupted across the city Thursday afternoon -- after Saturday morning's shooting, 20 more officers have been added.

According to Police Chief Jerry Dyer gang retaliation is to blame in all three incidents.

"We do know all three of those shootings last night are related and they're all retaliatory. They're all specific targets between these two particular gangs," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Now the effort is underway to stop the violence and bring peace to the community.

Police are ramping up their already increased presence this weekend after the latest shooting that took place just outside of a church.

An all too familiar scene for police as a third day of gang violence erupted in the city of Fresno. The latest victim targeted just 100 feet away from his church.

"An area that is always considered sacred ground, unfortunately, someone violated that today," Dyer said.

20-year-old Zurich Chatman, was outside Pilgrim Church of God in Christ when a white car drove up and shot him in the head. He was transported to Community Regional Medical Center where he remains in critical condition.

Chatman and fellow members of the congregation were headed to Allensworth for Black History Month.

Fresno police believe this fifth shooting is part of a larger gang war and are now teaming up with local pastors to encourage reconciliation over retaliation.

Chief Jerry Dyer says he does not know what sparked this latest back and forth but says it stems from a past feud.

RELATED: Hundreds of rounds of ammunition and multiple guns seized from single known gang member in SE Fresno

There is another crime scene near S Street and Mariposa.

Another shooting ended at Fulton and Merced streets Friday afternoon. One car has multiple gunshots leaving bullet holes right next to the driver's door.


Police believe people in a couple of cars were shooting at one another along several downtown streets.

Fresno Police found two women shot in a car at the Shell gas station on Blackstone and Dakota just after two Friday morning. A man was also found who had been shot in the head in his car at Blackstone and Shaw.

Police give update on several shootings in Fresno.
Fresno Police Chief adding many more officers this weekend after gang rivalry explodes over 10 hours.

The shootings involving Southwest Fresno gang members began Thursday around 4:30 in the afternoon after a 16-year old was shot in the face at the corner of Elm and Jensen where he was collecting money. He is identified as Kejuan Perry.

A few hours later one man was shot and killed and another hospitalized near Valencia and Fruit.

Then just after 2 a.m., more chaos. This time surveillance cameras captured a gun battle between a black Mercedes and silver Sedan heading North on Blackstone that sent one man and two women to the hospital.

Investigators believe both cars were involved in all three shootings.

"Occasionally we will see running gun battles in certain parts of the city, primarily the southern part of the city but to see it on Blackstone Avenue is very rare," said Dyer.

A gun battle at the Arco Station led up to the violent car chase.

The gas station owner tells Action News a large group of people were hanging out in front of his store in the early morning hours when multiple shots were fired from across the street.

"From there they started shooting, then they responded back with the shooting and all of a sudden what happened. They started running and running," said gas station owner Devendra Bawa.

The black Mercedes came to a stop a couple of blocks away at the Shell Station on Blackstone and Dakota.

Police continue to search for the silver Sedan.

Police fear retribution for the shootings because victims were well known in their community.

Later in the day a Southwest Fresno shooting claimed another life and left another person recovering in the hospital. It happened around 7:30 Thursday night at Fruit and Valencia.

Several people called the police, who arrived to find lots of shell casings along with two men laying on the ground. Both were taken to the hospital, where 24-year-old Anthony Perry died. He is the son of well-known, former, Edison High School football coach Tony Perry.

The second victim is expected to survive and is in surgery.

"As Chatman and Perry were standing outside of their vehicle the other Mercedes pulled up and the occupants of that vehicle began to fire rounds at Perry and Chatman. Either Perry or Chatman returned fire," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Police say 14 bullets were fired. Perry was hit in the chest and died. Chatman was shot in the leg.

"I think it's important to know Anthony Perry was someone involved in gangs for many years. He's beloved by a lot of the gang members. His dad Tony Perry passed away last year. He was the coach at Edison High School and was again very much beloved and rightfully so in the community.

Perry's death is being mourned by two ministers who knew him. Both Joby Jones and D.J. Criner said Perry was trying to work himself out of gang life.

"Deep down he was a good dude, he did not want to do this stuff no more," said Rev. Joby Jones.

"He came here on Sunday he brought 15 to 20 dudes with him to church," said Rev. D.J. Criner.

Criner and Jones have been working to try and stop gang violence in Fresno.

"The streets is calling for help and if they don't get help from the cross they are going to meet each other here at the cross with a casket in front of it," said Rev. D.J. Criner.

Both Criner and Jones were with Perry's family at the hospital and wish gang members could feel the impact of their actions.

"One decision, based on your pride to take someone out doesn't affect the person you took out because if they are gone they are gone but it's the families the ripple effect that it takes--so now you have a child without a father," said Rev. D.J. Criner.

Stay with Action News for more on this developing story.