Gang Members Shoot at Off-Duty Officer After Mistaking Him for Rival Gang Member
FRESNO – A shootout between gang members and an off-duty police officer they possibly believed to be a rival gang member ended with three gang members in jail.
The officer was in his personal car on his way to work around 8:30 p.m. on Monday when he pulled up to a stop light at Cedar and Butler avenues. The four gang members were in a car in an adjacent lane a few vehicles behind the officer. They began yelling at the officer, demanding to know what gang he was in.
“The officer was on the phone with his wife at the time, on speaker phone,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said. “He felt that something was about to happen. He told his wife to write down this license plate number in case something happened.”
Something did happen. One of the gang members fired six shots at the officer, which hit the side of the officer’s car. The officer, who had his service weapon with him, fired back, Dyer said.
The officer then drove to the southeast Fresno police station a block away and told the officers on duty what happened.
Two of the gang members were arrested after they went to Community Regional Medical center with gunshot wounds. A third gang member was stopped and arrested near where the shooting took place. The fourth suspect is still on the loose.
Two of the gang members were identified as Ricky Burciaga and Mario Rangel.
The unidentified officer was not hurt. He is now on paid administrative leave.
“The officer did an incredible job,” Dyer said. “We’re very, very fortunate we do not have a dead police officer.”
The Fresno Bee: Fresno police officer had wife on phone as he fought for his life