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Gang Members Shoot at Off-duty Officer

Police say two known Bulldog gang members are facing attempted murder charges after they fired at an off-duty officer while he was driving to work. The officer returned fire, wounding the two men. The officer was not hurt.
Two Fresno men are facing attempted murder charges after shooting at an off-duty officer Monday night, said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

During a press conference at Fresno Police Headquarters Tuesday, Dyer identified Mario Rangel, 22, and Ricky Burciaga, 23, as the two men involved. Dyer said both are documented Bulldog gang members.

Monday after 8 p.m., the officer was driving to work down Cedar Ave. when he noticed two men following him. The passenger, Burciaga, began throwing up gang signs and shouted at the officer, asking what gang he was a part of, Dyer said.

When they pulled up to the traffic light at the intersection of Cedar and Butler Avenues, the officer was in the left lane, and the suspects were behind the officer in the lane to the right of him, at a diagonal.

The officer felt threatened and reached into his duty bag that was on the passenger seat and held onto his gun.

That's when Burciaga opened fire, and the officer returned fire, Dyer said.

"That vehicle [the officer's vehicle] was struck five times on the passenger side. Two of those rounds struck just below the handle of the door. A couple of inches higher, there's no doubt that those rounds would've struck our officer and perhaps killed him," Dyer said.

The officer had been on the phone with his wife and had given her the suspects' license plate number while they followed him.
    
"The officer's wife was on the phone the entire time with him and heard this entire incident from the people yelling at her husband, to the exchange of gunfire that occurred," Dyer said.

One woman, who lives nearby the site of the shooting, said she heard about seven or eight rounds.

"I just dropped to the floor because they were so close to me that I just dropped to the floor. And I just grabbed the-- I have a baby. So I just grabbed him and dropped to the floor," said the woman, who did not want to be identified for safety reasons. She said many of the people who live around her are gang members.

The two men were struck by the officer's gunfire.

After the attack, witnesses told police that they saw the driver, Rangel, get out of the vehicle and fire at the officer's car as he drove through the intersection, Dyer said. The officer drove to the substation that was only one block south from the shooting site.

Burciaga was later driven to the hospital by other men. Rangel was taken after his aunt called for help for her nephew because he was having "stomach problems." When emergency personnel examined him, a bullet fell from his clothes. Police were later able to connect him to the shooting, Dyer said.

Police are looking for a silver 1997 Honda Civic with license plates 6JMH848 that they believe was involved in the shooting.

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