Prayer group calling for end to violence after latest Fresno murder

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Homicide detectives are still searching for two men responsible for the latest murder in Fresno. (KFSN)

Homicide detectives are still searching for two men responsible for the latest murder in Fresno. As those detectives continue their manhunt dozens of people in the Lowell neighborhood are praying for an end to the violence. Despite living near so many gang members those neighbors say their home isn't all that bad.

Thursday night, less than 24 hours after the gang-related murder there were calls for peace and hope in the very spot that was the scene of the murder.

"We carry a burden for this neighborhood because we love it so much," said David Mendoza. "We carry a burden for this neighborhood because we know that it's better than this. It's better than the violence. It's better than the death. And it could be resurrected."

Mendoza is part of the large prayer group. He also used to be part of the problem in this area of Central Fresno. Now he's trying to help others turn their lives around. And he's trying to prevent scenes like the one that played out Wednesday night. That's when Fresno police found a man out near an apartment complex suffering after being shot.

"We know that two males approached the victim who was outside near a car, shots were fired, the victim ran into an apartment complex and fell at the complex," said Fresno Police Lt. Mark Salazar.

Police say the victim, 25-year-old Edward "Andy" Contreras is a known gang member and was on parole for home invasion. He was visiting a friend in a neighborhood saturated police say with rival gang members.

Despite police saying Contreras' lifestyle is what likely contributed to his murder the prayer group says they lost one of their own.

"We see the beauty in the people where others may only see bad," Mendoza said. "We look past that. That's what gives us the courage to lean into the tension."
They lean in to continue improving the Lowell neighborhood, a place known years ago as the most dangerous area of Fresno.

Police say two men were seen running from that murder scene and getting into a light colored vehicle.

This is the 21st homicide of the year in Fresno.



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