According to Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, shortly after 11:30 a.m. police received a call about a man near the elementary school yelling and acting erratic. A second call said that the suspect was fighting with another individual and that one of them had a club. Once police arrived they found the suspect standing in a field, made contact with the suspect and felt at that time that the suspect was going through some sort of mental health crisis. Police called for a crisis intervention team officer and spoke with the suspect for 15 to 20 minutes to try and calm him down.
For twenty long minutes, Fresno Police officers tried calming down a suspect in an empty field.
"They didn't have any info or anything, they just said the school was on lockdown," said parent Phoeut San.
The suspect appeared to be high and on the verge of a mental breakdown and the commotion going down just feet away from Mario G. Olmos Elementary School.
"I just didn't know what to expect cuz they told me there was a shooting. I wasn't sure because I didn't know if the shooting was here. Then I saw everything blocked off," said parent Monica Deleon.
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The first officer who arrived noticed the same signs of mental illness.
He called for a crisis intervention team, asked them to bring less lethal force, and tried speaking to a man in Spanish.
"I've very proud that these officers used incredible restraint. Took an enormous amount of time to de-escalate this situation," said Fresno Police Department Chief Jerry Dyer.
Unfortunately, the negotiations turned violent when the man suddenly pulled out a knife, then a gun.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he watched the 20-minute long body camera footage.
He believes his officers did everything in their power.
"There weren't multiple commands being given by officers. They gave the individual a considerable safe distance so as not to force the suspect to do something they didn't want him to do," said Dyer.
Fresno police say an increase in mental illness related calls in the city prompted them to focus on crisis intervention training.
Three hundred officers in the department have taken 40-hour courses in the last two years.
The training may not have changed the ending here, but it can in the future.