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Two Guns Found in or Near Dead Suspect’s Vehicle: Balderrama

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This photo shows an indentation in the bulletproof vest worn by a Fresno police officer during the deadly shooting of a suspect on Saturday, March 4, 2023. (Fresno PD)
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Responding to the announcement that the state DOJ was investigating Saturday’s killing of a suspect by Fresno police, Chief Paco Balderrama said Monday evening that two guns “were found in or near the decedent’s vehicle, and freshly spent casings were found inside his car.”

“I am confident that DOJ’s thorough investigation will reveal all specific actions leading up to the shooting. Additionally, there is body-worn video which is being reviewed by DOJ, and cannot be released at this time.” — Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama

Balderrama’s comments came in a statement to GV Wire.

Man Killed Is Identified

On Tuesday, the department said that officers killed 29-year-old Roberto Corchado.

“I am confident that DOJ’s thorough investigation will reveal all specific actions leading up to the shooting,” Balderrama said. “Additionally, there is body-worn video which is being reviewed by DOJ, and cannot be released at this time.”

In announcing the investigation Monday morning, the office of state Attorney General Rob Bonta said, “Although there was reportedly an exchange of gunfire, preliminary investigation indicates that the decedent was not in possession of a deadly weapon at the time of the fatal shooting.”

The DOJ probe will coincide with administrative and criminal investigations conducted by Fresno PD and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, Balderrama said.

Fresno police found these firearms and ammunition in or near the vehicle of the suspect killed by officers on Saturday, March 4, 2023, in northwest Fresno. (Fresno PD)

Photos of Vest, Guns, Bullets, Magazines, Bullet Hole

Fresno police also released photographs from the shooting showing an indentation in an officer’s bulletproof vest, gunshots in a patrol cruiser, two guns, bullets, and magazines.

“In just over one month’s time, we’ve had two Central Valley police officers shot by gang members who, according to California law, should not have been in possession of a firearm. Police officers willingly place their lives in danger to protect our community every day and will continue to do so. While I am always saddened by the loss of life, I am very thankful the city of Fresno did not lose an officer in the line of duty while protecting our community,” Balderrama said.

Balderrama also provided an account of the shootout with the suspect, who, according to police, had an extensive criminal history and six outstanding warrants.

“The information as we know is as follows; the lone suspect in this case fired a gun at officers, a Fresno police officer was shot in the chest but thankfully his bullet-proof vest stopped the bullet from penetrating his body, one of our police vehicles received multiple bullet strikes during the incident. … ”

The chief added, “I do want to ensure our community that the Fresno Police Department has been and will continue to do all we can to keep our community safe, reduce violent crime, and do so in an impartial and professional manner, with transparency and accountability.”

Bullet hole in a Fresno police cruiser following a deadly shootout with a suspect on Saturday, March 4, 2023. (Fresno PD)

Suspect Killed in Northwest Fresno

The suspect died following a chase that ended at about 5 p.m. in northwest Fresno at Herndon and Ingram avenues.

The deadly confrontation began when officers tried to pull the suspect over near Shaw Avenue and Highway 41, but he sped away, Fresno deputy police chief Mindy Casto said.

A police helicopter followed the suspect as he cut off vehicles and ran red lights, Casto said.

When patrol officers caught up to him, they rammed his vehicle. The suspect then exited his car and started shooting. Officers returned fire “and the suspect went down,” Casto said.

(GV Wire/Paul Marshall)

 

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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