40-year-old Coarsegold man arrested in Fresno County's 1st homicide of 2021

Deputies say Brandon Engelman, who has associations with white supremacist gangs, targeted and murdered Pacer Hampton on April 13.

ByJessica Harrington and ABC30.com staff KFSN logo
Saturday, May 15, 2021
Coarsegold man arrested in 1st Fresno Co. homicide of 2021
Deputies say Brandon 'Milkweed' Engelman targeted and murdered 56-year-old Pacer Hampton on April 13.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno County Sheriff's Office has arrested a 40-year-old man in a deadly shooting that occurred last month.

The shooting was Fresno County's first homicide of 2021.

Deputies say Brandon Engelman of Coarsegold shot and killed 56-year-old Pacer Hampton.

At a press conference on Friday afternoon, authorities said Engelman has associations with local white supremacist gangs, and identified as a member of the 'Fresneck' gang.

"We have taken a very dangerous man who is associated with the white supremacist groups of gangs here in Fresno off the streets today," said Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp.

Sheriff Margaret Mims said Engelman, who is also known as 'Milkweed', has a criminal history that includes home invasion, criminal threats and residential burglary.

During the investigation, detectives learned about another incident involving Engelman, a family member, and an acquaintance.

They wouldn't elaborate, but said it's why Engelman has also been charged with kidnapping, elder abuse and domestic violence, besides the murder of Hampton.

Hampton was found shot and killed in a vehicle that crash through an iron fence near Olive and Polk on April 13.

Sheriff Mims said they haven't determined an exact motive for the murder, but believe Hampton was specifically targeted.

"They were acquainted and, in fact, had a long-going dispute between the two of them," Sheriff Mims said.

Detectives were searching for a white Chevy Tahoe with black door handles and 22-inch rims which they believed belonged to the suspect involved.

They say they traced the car to Engelman.

Officials said on Tuesday they served two search warrants: one in Coarsegold at Engelman's home and another one at a home in Fresno that he frequented.

"During the course of the searches, detectives recovered the Chevy Tahoe in question, " said Mims.

Authorities also recovered weapons, but haven't been able to determine if any of them were used in Hampton's death.

The SWAT team arrested Engelman on Tuesday.

D.A. Smittcamp credited the multiple agencies that worked together to build a case that lead to charges and the arrest of Engelman.

"When time was of the essence they were able to accomplish in days what would've taken months and weeks in years past," Smittcamp said.

Brandon Engelman was arraigned on that unrelated kidnapping charge Friday morning and pleaded not guilty. He's expected to be arraigned on the murder charge on Tuesday and is currently being held on more than $1 million bail.