Fresno police saturate streets in wake of recent rise in shootings

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Extra officers are patrolling Fresno streets following a violent week in the city. (KFSN)

Extra officers are patrolling Fresno streets following a violent week in the city. Those officers are out working to prevent more shootings. This week, there were eight in the city in just four days. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he's restructuring staffing -- hoping to make an impact on the city's recent rise in shootings.

Officers with the Street Violence Section, the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium and Violent Crime Impact Teams are out targeting hot spots in Fresno.

"We know that the majority of the crime is being committed by gang members," said Sgt. James Fowler with VCIT. Fowler's job this weekend is to find and arrest gang members who are breaking the law -- especially armed gang members.

"Of course we're going to make contact with them. We're going to talk to them," said Fowler. "A good majority of them are on probation or parole, and we're going to make sure that they're complying with the stipulations of their parole or probation."

Shooting scenes have dotted nearly all parts of the city this week. An argument escalated to a Central Fresno shooting, and the victim collapsed at Diana Street and Dakota Avenue. In Southeast Fresno, a 50-year-old man was shot Wednesday night. And police are looking for a few teenage suspects in a West Central Fresno shooting. Police say the person who shot and killed Lathyn Ma on Wednesday morning in Central Fresno is also still free.

Chief Dyer says his officers are tracking down those suspects. "We are targeting those people and are very close to removing them from the streets and putting them in jail," he said.

This year, police report 158 shootings year to date. Last year, it was only 134 -- an 18 percent increase the chief wants to stop. Which is why officers are working overtime every Saturday and Sunday, with more days planned, Dyer says, if the violence doesn't slow soon. The chief also says half of the shootings this week involved gang members. The extra resources will stay out on Fresno streets all summer.
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