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Bredefeld, Staffer Allegedly Threatened by Woman at News Conference

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Vanoush Ghatchaturian, center with suglasses, allegedly threatened councilmember Garry Bredefeld and his chief of staff outside City Hall on Thursday, April 27, 2023. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)
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Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld said a woman made a threat to him and his chief of staff during a Thursday morning news conference outside City Hall.

Bredefeld and chief of staff Nicole DeMera attended a news conference asking for the city council to reverse its decision on renaming several streets in honor of Cesar Chavez. Before the event started, they were accosted by Vanoush Ghatchaturian. She is known for a sometimes confrontational style of expressing her beliefs.

Ghatchaturian was upset about Bredefeld’s presence there stemming from a Bredefeld vote last year on a land deal involving Fresno’s Armenian Town project.

Bredefeld said Ghatchaturian made a threat.

“She walked up to me and she said something to the effect, ‘There’s a bullet waiting for you.’ And I said, ‘What did you just say?’ And she repeated it. And then she walked up to my staff person, Nicole, my chief of staff, and got in her face and started cursing at her: ‘F-you, F-you, F-you — there’s two bullets waiting for you.’ Now, that is obviously crossing the line,” Bredefeld said from the council dais.

Ghatchaturian, within eyeshot of others, visibly engaged in a yelling match with DeMera before they separated.

Fresno Police Start Investigation

Bredefeld said he would file a police report.

“I’m not going to tolerate that. And I’m not going to tolerate anybody threatening my staff. These are all city employees who come here and serve this community every day and do it very well, and they don’t deserve that crap,” Bredefeld said.

Ghatchaturian entered council chambers during the meeting. She left to speak with Fresno deputy police chief Burke Farrah about the incident. She said she was not arrested or detained and then left to return to work.

“As Councilman Bredefeld stated in council today, we will be taking statements from him, his assistant, and Councilman (Tyler) Maxwell today. It would be inappropriate to comment on the investigation at this time,” Farrah told GV Wire.

Bredefeld accused Ghatchaturian of assaulting Maxwell during an Armenian flag-raising ceremony at City Hall on Monday. She denied the charge.

Ghatchaturian Tells Her Side, Criticizes ‘Zionists’

Speaking with GV Wire after Bredefeld’s comments, Ghatchaturian said she did not threaten Bredefeld or DeMera. She repeatedly said he “backstabbed” the Armenian community on the land vote. She also said that Bredefeld plans to visit Armenia next year.

“I went up to him and I said, ‘What are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here.’ And I said, ‘You know, you going to Armenia? Game on. They all know what you did.’ ‘”

She continued: “Because, you know, he thinks he’s going to go to Armenia next year. So I said, ‘They play by different rules there. You’re going to have a bullet waiting for you in the head.’ And then Nicole got bitchy with me and I said the same to you. You guys are no one’s friend. These people are nobody’s friend.”

Ghatchaturian said that she plans to file litigation about the Armenian town vote, and continued to criticize Bredefeld.

“That’s all he does, is throw people under the bus and cry Chicken Little all the time,” Ghatchaturian said.

She admitted that “things got out of hand” before saying this: “Garry wasn’t even born Christian. He’s a Jew. Oh, my God. You know what? This is going to play out in Armenia because Israel is paying for the weapons for Azerbaijan to be killing Armenians because they have the interest in … oil.

“I don’t like Zionists, but I don’t care one way or the other. Just don’t be a Zionist. We’ve been in Israel much longer than the Jews have been.”

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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