Police Say Officer Shot At By Gang Members Is Lucky To Be Alive
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) —
Fresno Police say an off duty officer that was shot at by gang members is lucky to be alive. The officer's personal car has five bullet holes on the passenger side. Investigators say the bullets that went into the car around the door handle could have killed the officer.
"This is absolutely intolerable, what these individuals did last night," says Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
Chief Dyer says 2 gang members are to blame. He adds that the whole thing started Monday evening around 8pm as the officer was driving down Cedar Avenue to work. Investigators say the 2 gang members were in a silver Honda when they started following the officer and flashed gang signs at him.
The officer says that when he pulled up to the intersection at Cedar and Butler he was boxed in by traffic. He says the gang members that were in the silver Honda pulled up next to him, but they stayed a little behind him so there was no way he could get out.
"The officer actually felt in his words trapped," adds Chief Dyer.
Police say the gang members started asking the officer if he was a gang member and then the passenger started firing. Investigators say the officer had already pulled his weapon out of his work bag and he fired back. The officer shot and injured both men in the silver Honda.
The officer told police that when he realized the car in front of him had driven away he sped off. However, witnesses say the driver of the Honda jumped out of the car and kept firing at the officer.
The passenger "Ricky Burciaga" was taken to the hospital. The driver "Mario Rangel" was found at his aunt's house. The Fresno Police Chief says he has one message for gang members about what happened.
"This was an off duty police officer, but it could of been any citizen in our community," says Chief Dyer, "We're going to make sure that we do everything in our power to prevent these things from occurring again, I promise you."
The officer is on paid administrative leave until the investigation is over. Police say he was on the phone with his wife during the entire gun fight and she heard everything.
Police say the two gang members will be charged with attempted murder. Fresno Police are still looking for the car the gang members were driving. Officers say they are looking for a silver 1997 Honda Civic with the license plate number "6JMH848." If you see the car or know where it might be police ask that you call 911 immediately.