Armed robbery suspects arrested after firing on clerks as part of ‘gang initiation,’ police say

February 07 2021 03:30 pm

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Surveillance video shows a crew of brazen criminals who allegedly opened fire on three different store employees during a string of at least six armed robberies.

“It was almost like every other day they were going out, and through statements gathered we were told that whenever they needed money they used an armed robbery like an ATM,” Kingsburg Police Detective Lee Forlines said Tuesday.

The six suspects are all juveniles except 18-year-old Fernando Hernandez.

RELATED: Month-long investigation leads to arrest of 6 suspects involved in armed robberies in Fresno, Tulare County

According to the Kingsburg Police Department:

“Six armed robberies took place between Sunday, Sept. 13 and Wednesday, Nov. 4. The robberies occurred in:

Tulare County (Traver) on Sept. 13
Orange Cove on Oct. 24
Kingsburg on Oct. 27
Fowler on Oct. 27 and November 4
Selma on Oct. 29

Forlines said the motive was gang related.

“These robberies were found to be linked to gang initiations. The suspects, they had to actually fire the guns in the commission of these armed robberies,” he said.

Surveillance video caught a shot being fired over an Orange Cove clerk before he pistol-whipped so hard the trigger guard breaks off the weapon.

The broken gun later became one of the keys to tying the crimes together after it’s seen in surveillance days later during another armed robbery in Selma. The worker is also fired on there and on anther occasion a Fowler worker is shot at once initially, then again as the suspects run away.

“These clerks were very lucky that nobody was shot and or killed,” Forlines said.

The Kingsburg Police Department, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Fowler, Orange Cove, and Selma Police Departments worked together to identify all of the suspects and arrested them over a 13 day period.

“Through shared information that’s how we catch these guys, is by working together,” Forlines said.

All the suspects remain in custody facing charges including armed robbery and attempted murder.

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