Special response teams cracking down on gang violence in South Fresno

Teams made up of a sergeant and five officers are taking guns off the streets

FRESNO, Calif. - It's been five days since three special response teams got deployed to the southern sections of the City. Police call it a vigilant and proactive approach to stop gun violence. 

Police say 26-year-old Desmond George is a validated West Side Strother Boys gang member. On Friday afternoon, the Southwest District's Special Response Team arrested him for carrying a a loaded handgun in his waistband. Officers made contact with George a block away from King Elementary School.

"We prevented a shooting and took that gun out of a gang member's hand that could have been used to commit a senseless act," said Sergeant Ignacio Ruiz.

A few hours after the arrest, the Eyewitness crew rode along with Sergeant Ruiz through the streets of Southwest Fresno. Ruiz and his team of five officers are cracking down on gang violence.

"That's why I want to let you know man, it's bad right now. People are talking a lot of smack. It's very hot," said Ruiz to two young men in the neighborhood.

Warning residents of danger and connecting with a community plagued by shootings for too long.

"You're our eyes and ears to the police department. That's what we're doing," said Ruiz to a mother.

Next, the squad responded to a traffic stop at Fresno and Jones just across the street from where police say a teen was shot in a drive-by Thursday night. Ruiz says it's typical for gang members to drive with vehicle code violations. This stop does not result in an arrest but SRT's proactive approach is leading to more firearm recoveries. 

The message is clear. Police say the shootings must stop as these teams hunt down gangs.

"We don't want them in this town. We want the families here, the children to be safe," said Ruiz.

In the past 48 hours, the Southwest special response team recovered two guns from the hands of gang members. The Southeast and Central areas have teams patrolling streets as well.

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