FRESNO, Calif. - 21-year-old Gary Perry is now behind bars, accused of murdering his two friends in a Woodward Lake neighborhood during a suspected drug deal gone bad.
Close friends of 21-year-old Scott Gaffney and 21-year-old Brennen Fairhead held a candlelight vigil for the victims at the spot they were shot and killed. Two hours later, Chief Jerry Dyer announced Perry's arrest.
Dyer says Perry initially lied about his involvement but eventually admitted to killing the men who were supposed to be his friends.
In a neighborhood unfamiliar with crime and violence, raw emotion invaded the street of North Grouse Run as dozens of people lit candles, left flowers, and posted signs in honor of two innocent men. Close friends of Scott Gaffney and Brennen Fairhead hugged and shared tears at the exact spot both 21-year-olds were murdered Thursday night.
"Let's kick it soon man. I miss you," said Gaffney's friend Eddie Sixay.
Gaffney's last words to Sixay who saw his old friend recently.
"Just growing up knowing Scotty. He was just always there for me and I was always there for him," said Sixay.
Gaffney and Fairhead graduated from Clovis West. Tristan Edwards says he wrestled with Fairhead who worked hard and pushed others to improve.
"And that's the kind of person Brennen was. He would go out there and try to make everybody else better because it wasn't a good world if he wasn't trying to help other people," said Fairhead's friend Tristan Edwards.
20 minutes away, Chief Dyer announced the arrest of the accused murderer. Dyer says 21-year-old Gary Perry had been friends with the victims for years. He says Fairhead drove the three men to the Woodward Lake area for drugs.
"They were there for the purpose of conducting a transaction of narcotics for prescription pills," said Chief Dyer.
Dyer says Perry shot and killed Fairhead from behind the driver's seat moments after the car was parked. Gaffney ran out of the car before Perry shot him in the back.
"We have not been able to truly determine the motive or the reason why Perry shot both of these individuals. But we do know there was an intent," said Dyer.
Dyer says Perry drove off in the car but abandoned it a half mile away from the shooting. He ended up at a restaurant nearby where a witness says he acted nervous. Meanwhile, surveillance cameras in the neighborhood captured Perry on video before he left. On Friday morning, tips led authorities to Fairhead's home on San Pablo Avenue where Dyer says Perry had been staying off and on. Police arrested him as he arrived Friday afternoon. Dyer says Perry finally admitted to murdering his two friends after a long interview.
"As he said in the interview, that he wishes it would have never happened," said Dyer.
Friends of Fairhead and Gaffney wish the same. They're now heartbroken they'll never see them again.
"It makes me sad that my children won't remember him," said Edwards.
Dyer says officers recovered Perry's gun in a storm drain. He now faces two counts of murder. Dyer also says there may be a fourth person connected to this case.