Party problems: Police monitoring social media to curb violence

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno police are putting a focus on parties this summer after a rash of violence stemming from get-togethers.

Shootings are actually on the decline in Fresno through the halfway point of 2019, but the number of people getting shot is up by 44%.

Police say they're seeing more people firing off shots at each shooting, and parties are partly to blame.

When the smoke cleared over a Fourth of July party in southeast Fresno, Ernest Carter was dead, three more people had injuries, and the crime scene was huge.

"There were 58 shell casings located at that scene," said Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer. "We believe there were far more rounds that were fired. It was a shootout among a number of people and we know there were at least eight guns used in that shooting."

Two weeks earlier, at least two guns fired at Nicholas Polin's birthday party in northeast Fresno. One of the gunshots killed Polin, who police say had tried to stop the violence.

Two incidents, ten guns, two deaths.

Police say it highlights a growing problem with parties, especially when gang members might be in attendance.

"Sometimes they're referred to as gang block parties, so these individuals that have these parties, we want to be aware of them," Dyer said. "We can do that through social media monitoring."

Investigators are tracking some gang members on social media, but they want neighbors to call them when parties start to get big so they can keep an eye out and crack down on the violence.

But they also had good news on a party shooting victim from the same morning Polin was killed.

10-month-old Baby Fayth is recovering nicely.

Her father tells Action News she's finally chewing on her own and the right side of her body is getting stronger.

"Smiling, sitting upright," Dyer said. "You know by all indications, a 10-month-old child shot in the head and it appears that she's going to make, if not a full recovery, at least a significant recovery."

Police are still looking for Carter's killer, but they arrested a 16-year-old for killing Polin and arrested Marcos Echartea for shooting baby Fayth after the girl's mother rejected his romantic advances at a party.
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