Man honored for helping Fresno County Sheriff's Office arrest person responsible for random shootings

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Wednesday, Fresno County Sheriff's Office promoted and swore in new officers. They also honored others who have done good in our community.

Pleasant Valley State Prison correctional officer Hector Villarreal is sitting in the front row; it's not his bright shirt that makes him a stand out, it is his actions.

Earlier this year Villarreal helped sheriff's deputies arrest Jose Javier Garcia-- a man who was wanted for a string of drive-by shootings in both Madera and Fresno Counties. Between November and December Garcia shot at ten moving vehicles, injuring one person.

It all happened on January 8th, when Villarreal was driving with his family, Garcia pulled up next to him and pointed a handgun at him.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said, "Hector, who had his family with him, became fearful for their safety, so he pulled away and began to drive to a more populated area."

Villarreal called the police and drove to a gas station, Garcia followed him-- that's when Villarreal's training kicked in.

"Hector drew his handgun and directed the suspect to get out of his truck and lie down on the ground, the suspect complied," said Mims.

"I am glad that the training that I was provided with took effect, and I'm glad that I was able to deal with the situation," said Villarreal.

Garcia was arrested, and sheriff's deputies were able to link bullets used in the drive-by shootings to a gun found in his car.

Villarreal said, "Just glad he is off the streets, I'm glad my family and the public is safe now."

Villarreal said he was honored to receive the official Commendation of Valor and plans on framing his award.
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