Suspect shot by deputies after slipping cuffs, firing at officers in NW Fresno

A woman was critically injured in an exchange of gunfire with Fresno County deputies near Valentine and Shaw on Thursday.

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Friday, August 12, 2022
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A woman was critically injured in an exchange of gunfire with Fresno County deputies on Thursday afternoon.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A woman was critically injured in an exchange of gunfire with Fresno County deputies on Thursday afternoon.

The confrontation happened on Valentine between Shaw and San Jose in northwest Fresno at about 2:40 pm.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office said their deputies were originally called to evict a 30-year-old woman from her apartment, but soon realized she had warrants out for her arrest.

She was the prime suspect in a shooting back in July in which a 62-year-old man was shot in the face in northeast Fresno.

The identity of the woman hasn't been released, but Action News has learned she has a lengthy criminal history, including forgery, theft, and burglary.

Because the woman was likely armed and dangerous, three deputies were tactically staged. They waited for her to leave the complex in her car, then pulled her over and placed her under arrest.

But she had managed to keep a gun with her after she was taken into custody and placed in the back of a deputy's vehicle. Then, she slipped out her handcuffs and fired at deputies at least once. Two deputies fired at least two shots back.

Fresno PD is investigating the shooting because it happened within city limits. The woman was hit by gunfire at least twice and was rushed into surgery. She's in critical condition.

Chief Paco Balderrama said it's still not clear how the woman hid the weapon.

"It is not terribly uncommon for females to be able to hide firearms either in between their breasts or some other area. When you have male police officers, they are a lot more hesitant to search because of that reason and we did not have a female deputy here on site. One was en route," he said.

Fresno County Sheriff-Elect John Zanoni said when male deputies are tasked with patting down female suspects for weapons, the searches are more minimal.

"If we want to do a thorough search we will have a female officer or a female deputy sheriff come over and conduct that search for contraband and other things just because it's the right protocol, the right thing to do," he said.

The woman is facing charges for assault with a deadly weapon, a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.