Councilman Luis Chavez spent his July 4th holiday tying the knot in Cancun.
But, while on his honeymoon, he discovered an unfortunate fact of life many have experienced in Fresno: his Huntington Boulevard home was broken into.
“This is the window that he broke,” Chavez explained while giving a tour of the damage to GV Wire. Shards of broken glass still remain in his backyard, as well as wood planks used to temporary board up the windows.
Chavez says the burglar grabbed an old watch and pocket change. A tenant who lives in a back-unit home spotted him and called 9-1-1. But the suspect got away, but not before the tenant gave a description to Chavez of what the assailant looked like.
Then, on Sunday, the same man returned. This time Chavez was prepared.
Watching TV in the morning, Chavez noticed a man on his front porch. “Out of the corner of my eye, I see this guy looking through my window, looks through my door, then the side window; then comes over here and tries to shimmy the door,” Chavez says.
Chavez saw the man try to rattle the front door. He then noticed some distinctive tattoos on the suspect, as described by his tenant.
“Immediately, I go grab my gun,” Chavez told GV Wire. He says the would-be repeat burglar went around to the backyard. That is when Chavez confronted him, weapon ready if necessary. “I lifted my window and pointed my gun at him.
“He sees me pointing the gun at him and immediately freaks out. That’s when I told him ‘don’t move’ and he just bolted and took off and I went after him.”
Chavez grabbed his car and chased after the suspect, calling police for help. The man, identified as Enrique Lopez, was eventually arrested a few blocks away at Tulare & Sixth. “The good thing is, we caught him,” Chavez expressed with relief.
For Chavez, he wanted to catch the suspect so his friends and neighbors did not have to experience what he did.
“I wanted to make sure that he didn’t get away,” Chavez says. “It is very frustrating. As a council member, I hear the calls from the constituents…people break into their homes, their vehicles. I was not going to take it that day. That’s why I did what I did.”
The incident makes Chavez focus on Props 47 & 57 which allowed for the early release of some criminals.
“This hits home. It’s kind of a wakeup call for myself and my family. Legislation has some serious consequences for our folks here at the local level. I think that when you enact something like that (Prop 47 & 57), you have a responsibility to make sure that you either give the local resources to the local folks or not do it at all,” Chavez says.
But he has low confidence state leaders will make that happen.
Chavez is glad he has his second amendment rights. “I’m a big Second Amendment guy. I’m an NRA member. I believe in that. It proved to be true that time. I didn’t go out looking for trouble, but trouble came to my home. Luckily, I was armed and had an opportunity to defend myself and my family.”