Kerwest Newspapers

 

Will discuss elections change 

A special meeting of the Kerman City Council will be held Feb. 15, at 3 pm at 850 S. Madera Ave.

The public will be invited to comment on plans to change from 'at large' elections for the city council to district based elections.


Arrest Suspect for Random Shootings

on Western Fresno County Roadways

Jan. 26 -- Detectives with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division (SID) arrested 42 year old Jorge Javier Gracia of Kerman. He has been booked into the Fresno County Jail and his bail is set at $1.2 million. Gracia is facing the following felony charges:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Brandishing of a firearm
- Being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition
- Carrying a loaded stolen firearm
- Drug possession

  

Around 11 pm Jan. 8, a man driving in the area of Whitesbridge and Goldenrod Avenues in Kerman noticed a man in a gray 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 4-wheel drive crew cab pickup truck pull alongside of him and point a handgun at him through a window. The victim, an off-duty corrections officer with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), pulled away and began to drive to a more populated area of the city. During this time, the victim called the Kerman Police Department to report that a motorist had just pointed a gun at him.

The suspect continued to follow the victim and pulled in behind him at the Fastrip gas station located at the intersection of S. Madera and W. Sunset Avenues in Kerman. The victim got out of his vehicle and took cover behind a gas pump, while instructing citizens to clear the area. The officer drew his handgun and directed the suspect (Jorge Gracia) to get out of his truck and lie down on the ground. The suspect complied. During this time, Kerman Police officers arrived on scene. The victim identified himself to officers and they moved in to handcuff the suspect and take him into custody.

Due to the circumstances and a pickup truck being involved, Kerman Police requested Fresno County Sheriff’s detectives respond to investigate the possibility of the suspect being involved in a recent series of shootings on roads in the Kerman area. Detectives impounded the pickup truck and authored a search warrant for it. Detectives later searched inside the truck and found methamphetamine and a .380 semi-automatic handgun. Gracia was booked into jail on these charges, along with an outstanding warrant for driving on a suspended license.


While in custody, detectives continued to investigate whether or not Gracia was involved in any of the random roadway shootings. Detectives learned that Gracia worked as an electrician who traveled the route during the time period of the shootings. Between Nov. 27 and Dec. 17, 2017, there were 10 separate reports of vehicles being struck by gunfire. Eight occurred in Fresno County and two occurred in Madera County. Only one case resulted in a person suffering injuries. Deputies were able to collect bullet rounds from several of these shootings.


The Sheriff’s Forensics Laboratory team conducted ballistic tests, comparing rounds (bullets) recovered from some of the vehicles that were shot, to the .380 handgun seized from Gracia. The results revealed the gun was a positive match to the recovered rounds. Numerous victims had given deputies the same description of the last vehicle they saw go past them at the time they heard the noise resembling a gunshot. It was described as a dark colored pickup truck with an extended cab or crew cab. It had a lifted body with oversize tires. As a result of the evidence collected, Gracia was arrested for his involvement in the shootings and additional charges were placed on his record. Evidence also indicates that the suspect only fired one round at each moving vehicle. A motive for the shootings is unknown at this time.


Deputies with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Madera County Sheriff’s Office, officers with the California Highway Patrol and Kerman Police Department dedicated a lot of time and resources into this investigation to try and identify possible suspects and put a stop to these shootings. Due to increased public awareness and donations to Valley Crime Stoppers that created a reward of $10,000, several tips were generated. This information helped detectives narrow their focus in the investigation and ultimately take the suspected gunman off the streets. Detectives are working with Crime Stoppers to determine if someone is eligible to collect the reward.


This remains an ongoing investigation. Anyone with additional information on Jorge Gracia or any of the shootings is asked to contact Sheriff’s dispatchers at (559) 600-3111 or Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-7867. You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

 


Westside Calendar

 

Community Meeting

at Firebaugh Library

Jan. 25 - The Fresno County Public Library (FCPL) will host a Stakeholders Community Engagement Session at the Firebaugh Branch Library Wednesday, Jan. 31 from 6:30 to 8 PM. The meeting will be held at the current Firebaugh Branch Library located at 1315 O Street, Firebaugh.

The purpose of this meeting is for the public to share what they would like to see in the new Firebaugh Branch Library space. West Hills North, District Center is building a new campus with plans to have a joint academic and public library together in the same building. This is the opportunity for all interested members of the community to have provide their input on the future of the public library in Firebaugh.

Supervisor Brian Pacheco will be at the meeting to listen to your thoughts and ideas on what is needed for the new public library for the Firebaugh community. All aspects of the public library’s service and commitment will be discussed at this meeting. Please come join us.

For additional information about this meeting, please contact FCPL’s Public Information Officer, Rocky Vang at (559) 600-6274 or (559) 970-1135.

***

‘68 TIGERS- The TUHS class of 1968 is in the process of planning the 50th class reunion to be held in September 2018. Organizers are looking for suggestions, date and location ideas and will be compiling names and addresses of classmates. For more information : Chris W Wilson - CSW7344@gmail.com or Frank Del Testa - fdeltesta@aol.com


Reward for road shooter

reaches $10,000

Dec. 28 - The reward offered for information leading to an arrest in the ongoing random roadway shooting case has reached $10,000. Valley Crime Stoppers has offered a $3,000 cash reward to anyone with information about the person or persons responsible for these shootings; an anonymous donor chipped in $3,000; a $1,000 donation was made by the Fresno County Public Safety Association and Harris Ranch has put up $3,000.

The Fresno County Public Safety Association, which is the organization that represents Fresno County Sheriff’s Correctional Officers, is also issuing a challenge. They want all law enforcement organizations to match their $1,000 donation in hopes of it leading to an arrest that much sooner.

The only way the award can be claimed is by delivering a tip to Valley Crime Stoppers. They can be reached at (559) 498-7867. As always, the caller will not have to give their name.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate a series of shootings on public roadways, which appear to be related.

Between Nov. 27 and Dec. 17, there have been 10 separate reports of vehicles being struck by gunfire. Eight occurred in Fresno County and two occurred in Madera County. Only one case resulted in a person suffering injuries. Detectives have not determined a motive for the shootings and are considering them to be random.

All of the shootings in Fresno County have happened in the same vicinity, on the outskirts of the city of Kerman. Most all occurred at the beginning and end of traditional commute hours. A common thread in all reports is the victims said they heard loud bangs as another vehicle passed them, going the opposite direction on the roadway. They later inspect their vehicles and find bullet holes in various places.

Numerous victims have given deputies the following description of the last vehicle they saw go past them at the time they heard the noise.

- Dark colored pickup truck with an extended cab or crew cab

- Lifted body with over-sized tires

The last reported shooting occurred on Dec. 17. No shootings have happened since all of the reward increases.


 

 

 

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Telephone: 559-846-6689

Fax: 559-846-8045

US Mail: P.O. Box 336, Kerman, CA 93630

652 S. Madera Ave., Kerman, CA  93630

Email: Kerwest@msn.com