'I'm going to fight for my dad:' Son of the man accused of shooting Fresno Co. deputy defends father

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- "He said I love you, you take care of your wife and son, and the baby on the way," That's the call Brandon Lowery said he received from his father, 57-year-old Michael Congdon, before the standoff.

Congdon is behind bars after authorities say he shot Deputy John Erickson while he responded to a call at Congdon's Tollhouse home, hitting the deputy in the leg.

The suspect's son is now coming to the father's defense.

"This could've all been avoided If the sheriff's involved would've taken care of the cases that were called upon," Lowery said.

RELATED: 'It was bam, bam, bam:' Neighbor describes shooting in Tollhouse, feud with suspect accused of shooting deputy

Lowery claims his family, and especially his father, were frustrated with what they claim was a lack of response by the sheriff's department to intervene in a property line dispute between his dad and a neighbor.

Yet, Sheriff Margaret Mims addressed in a press conference, deputies repeatedly responded to the Tollhouse property but said the neighbors needed to pursue legal options first.

"They were told how to take care of the issue through the court process, however, that had not been done," Mims said.

But meantime. another call came in at the Tollhouse location, and Deputy Erickson responded, then found himself in a barrage of bullets out of nowhere.

"Before he could be the peacemaker, he has bullets flying at him," said sheriff's spokesman, Tony Botti.
However, Lowery says the property line feud escalated even after his dad filed a restraining order against his neighbor and claims deputies didn't take it seriously.

"This deputy was called up every single case.. everything. There (have) been times he's laughed at my dad's face," Lowery said.

Action News did call the Fresno County Sheriff's Office; however, they told us they weren't going to comment at this time because of the ongoing investigation.

RELATED: Law enforcement rally together to help Fresno County deputy after he was shot in the line of duty

Congdon faces several charges, including attempted murder and animal cruelty.

Lowery said those charges don't reflect Congdon, who he describes as a loving father and grandfather.

"I'm going to fight for my dad until I die," he said. "I just want my dad back."
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