Suspect with replica gun killed in Fresno County officer-involved shooting

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno police officer shot and killed a man Friday morning, just hours after the suspect was released from jail.

Aaron Marchese lived 30 years, mostly on a property at Shaw and Hayes avenues, where he died. His mother and other family members say he suffered from mental illness for most of that time. And one of his quirks may be what led to his death.

A complicated investigation brought dozens of Fresno police officers, Fresno County sheriff's deputies and even city attorneys to this dusty corner in Fresno County. A Fresno police sergeant shot and killed Marchese there after getting a report of an armed man on Shaw Avenue. The sergeant says he ordered Marchese to show his hands, but the suspect just walked away.

"After walking some distance, the suspect then turned toward the officer and pulled what appeared to be a gun out of his pants," said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.

The supposed gun turned out to be more like a toy, but Sheriff Mims says it definitely had the appearance of a weapon. Marchese's family says it's sad, but not surprising to find out that's why he was killed.

"He would get a broomstick and break it and point it as cars go by, and I'd tell him not to do that because somebody could have a gun and shoot back at him," said Ambrosio Garcia, Marchese's grandfather.

Garcia says Marchese had a long history of mental illness and was something of a powder keg. He was frequently arrested but never seemed to stay in custody for too long. In fact, sheriff's deputies arrested him Thursday night for drug possession. He was home by the time his grandfather woke up, and he was dead not long afterwards.

Garcia says things might've been different for his grandson if he ever got treatment. He said, "There's no doubt about that because I think he would've had a better chance that's for sure."

The police sergeant is on leave now pending the outcome of the investigation, which is being done by the sheriff's office since the property across the street is in the county.
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