Suspect in police shooting, chase seizes second chance success

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A second chance has led to success for a Fresno man who was shot by Fresno police as he backed an SUV towards officers at the end of a long chase.

Two weeks ago, Action News had the public's first look at video from the incident.

Homar Cardenas has owned his mistake and was determined not to repeat it when he got out of prison.

With a little help from the local tech giant, he's living up to his own expectations and people around him say he's making his community better.

The July 2017 chase is a blur for Cardenas because meth had a grip on him.

"I was pretty much just lost," he said.

He drove through a gate at Simonian Farms and then backed up towards officers trying to arrest him.

One officer was hurt. Three of them opened fire.

Cardenas still has the bullet wounds on his arm and face.

But his life looks very different now.

"This building right here is where it all changed for me pretty much," Cardenas said. "This is where I got my start. This is where someone saw potential in me."

Cardenas found Bitwise Industries by accident not long after he got out of prison in 2019, determined to be a better man.

He got a Caltrans job right away and a training session brought him to the South Stadium Bitwise offices.

He opened the door for Stephanie Moreno that day.

She's been opening doors for him ever since through the tech company's outreach to formerly incarcerated people.

"It's amazing for people to see if we give people just a little bit of opportunity or grace and understanding, it really goes a long way," said Moreno, the Bitwise vice president of Student Experience.

The Bitwise community-supported Cardenas as he seized his second chance - keeping himself clean and learning the tech industry from scratch.

Almost two years later, he's an online marketer who owns a car and a house and who gets to spend time with his teenage kids.

He hopes telling his story can change people's perspectives.

"They've seen the person I was before and they get to see a whole different person now," he said. "And if I can show just my family or just people around me that change is possible, I think that's motivation for myself."

Moreno says Bitwise wants to help break the cycle of poverty by giving a diverse group of people access to high growth and high wage jobs.

Cardenas bought into the concept so much, he now spends time helping other formerly incarcerated people learn the trade.

"People are not their greatest mistake and he is a true, living example of that," Moreno said. "We are so proud of him here at Bitwise."

Bitwise has trained thousands of people for tech work and about one in 50 of them are formerly incarcerated.

About 80% of the trainees find work in tech and their salary triples on average.
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