SELMA, California -- A line of flashing lights by emergency vehicles lit up downtown Fresno then Highway 99 on Tuesday night as local law enforcement and other first responders came together to honor a fallen Selma Police officer.
While the identity of the Selma officer was not publicly known Tuesday, his death while on duty resonated with many other law enforcement agencies.
The Selma officer had been with the department two years.
And it was revealed Tuesday night that the officer was an expecting father, according to the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office.
“It is a tragic day in the County of Fresno and the state of California,” Fresno County DA Lisa Simttcamp said in a news release, “as we have suffered the loss of another fine peace officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty by a callous and violent criminal.”
Tuesday night’s procession was led by the Selma Police Department and included units from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Fresno Police, California Highway Patrol, as well as other agencies.The fallen officer’s body was transported in a white Cadillac hearse, taken from Fresno Community Regional Medical Center to the Fresno County Coroner’s Office with the line of emergency units helping in the escort.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the Selma Police officer who tragically lost his life in the performance of his duties today,” Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama wrote and posted on social media. “The Fresno Police Department stands besides our brothers and sisters at the Selma Police Department as they too mourn the loss of one of their own.”
The DA’s office said the fallen officer was the son of farmworkers, went to the police academy and took the initiative to educate himself.
Before joining the Selma Police, he took part in the Explorer Program at the Reedley Police Department.
The Selma officer was on patrol around 11:45 am Tuesday when a homeowner flagged him down after a man “who looked suspicious and was unknown to the area” was spotted in front of a house.
Selma Police Chief Rudy Alcaraz said the officer was exiting his vehicle to make contact with the suspect when he was shot at several times and struck.
Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni called the shooting a “senseless act of violence.”
“We have an individual,” Zanoni said, “with multiple priors for felonies who was out in our community today (and) took the life of a Selma Police officer needlessly.”
A 23-year-old suspect who law enforcement believes is responsible for killing the Selma officer was arrested Tuesday afternoon.
Nonetheless, the Selma community mourned the loss of an officer was trying to protect and service at the time of he was shot.
Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, who spent 40 years with the Fresno Police, expressed deep sadness about the officer’s death.
“The reality of the dangers of police work has hit so close to home today,” Dyer said in a social media post. “Our hearts are broken for the family of the Selma police officer who was gunned down in the line of duty.
“Today, he gave his life in service to the community. We are so saddened by this tremendous loss.”
SELMA, Calif. — A Selma police officer was shot and killed by a suspect in the line of duty in a residential neighborhood in the Fresno County city on Tuesday.
The fatal shooting occurred around 11:45 a.m. in the 2600 block of Pine Street, just west of Highway 99 and south of Rose Avenue.
The officer was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno but died there later, Selma Police Chief Rudy Alcaraz said in an update near the scene around 4:05 p.m.
The officer was not immediately identified out of a respect for privacy of the family, Alcaraz said.
Around 1:20 p.m. the sheriff’s office announced a person of interest had been detained. FCSO said at that time that there were no outstanding suspects.
Sheriff John Zanoni during the afternoon update with Alcaraz said that person had been arrested.
They were not immediately identified by Zanoni, but the sheriff noted the suspect had several prior felony arrests and was known to law enforcement.
Alcarez said the incident began when a resident noticed the suspect in the front of the house and called police. The officer arrived and found the suspect, who shot him several times before fleeing.
The officer did not fire his weapon, Zanoni said.
The suspect was detained by FCSO deputies between noon and 12:15 p.m., and a gun was recovered, Zanoni said.
FCSO homicide detectives took over the investigation.
Alcaraz said the officer was with Selma police for two years.
“I’m absolutely outraged,” Alcaraz said. “I’m horrified right now. This is the worst-case scenario. “
In addition to FCSO, law enforcement from the surrounding area — including the U.S. Marshals, California Highway Patrol and police from Fresno, Kingsburg and Parlier — swarmed to the scene and established a perimeter around the location for the investigation.