FRESNO – In the fourth incident recently involving Fresno police officers being targeted by gangs, a Fresno officer was shot at on Tuesday night, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
“There is no shortage of gang members armed in our community with firearms. In the last two months, there has been an increase in willingness to fire those weapons at police officers as we’re in the process of enforcing laws,” Dyer said.
In the most recent incident on Tuesday night, the plainclothes officer and a partner were investigating gang-related shootings in the 2100 block of South Tupman Street. Although in plainclothes and standing by two unmarked cars, the officers were wearing tactical vests that identified them as police, authorities said.
The officers saw a car approaching them at a high speed and shined flashlights at the vehicle to tell the driver to slow down, but the car sped away recklessly, Dyer said, prompting the officers to put on their emergency lights and chase after the vehicle.
At some point, the driver – identified as 19-year-old Jose Molinero – turned around and shot toward the officers, hitting the windshield of one of the officer’s vehicles, Dyer sad.
The chase was called off due to a risk to public safety, but the officers found the car ditched near agricultural pumps at Jensen and Chateau Fresno Avenues, west of the city, Dyer said.
The officers found Molinero in a nearby orchard and arrested him. A police dog searched the area and found a loaded .357 Smith & Wesson revolver that had been stolen in Clovis in 2009, authorities said.
Neither of the officers were injured during the incident.
Dyer said that the Fresno Police Department “will not be deterred from going after gang members.”