FRESNO, California – Five years ago, 85-year-old George Sheklian was pushed to the ground and suffered severe head injuries that took his life, during a gun store robbery in Fresno.
CBS47 has learned Fresno Police have at least two persons of interest in the case and know several others were involved in the planning of the armed robbery.
But officers need the public’s help to put the final pieces of the puzzle together and make some arrests. Detective Eden Cerda is the lead detective assigned to the case.
“It’s such a tragic case because Mr. Sheklian truly is an innocent victim,” said Cerda. “He was going about his daily business. He was going to his neighboring business, the firearm store, to give a friend cup of coffee that morning.”
But the 85-year-old had no idea a robbery was taking place inside the North Fresno store. Surveillance cameras captured two masked African-American suspects carrying out the robbery and then running out the door carrying 13 handguns.
Before they left, one of them shoved Sheklian to the ground, causing the 85-year old to suffer severe head trauma. Additional surveillance video shows two vehicles, a white Cadillac and silver Dodge Charger, identified by police as the getaway cars.
Fresno detectives tell CBS47 the persons of interest belong to a local African-American gang. Detectives don’t want to release their names but say since the robbery several of the 13 stolen weapons have been recovered.
“We have recovered quite a few of them, some have been locally in the area of Fresno, Reedley, and up to Sacramento as well,” said Cerda. “Because of the recoveries and area those firearms have been used in we believe our suspects, persons of interest are going to be from here in the valley and local to his area.”
Arsen Georgio Sheklian is the victim’s son. He makes and repairs handcrafted leather goods and shoes, just like his dad. Arsen says only through his faith in God that he’s forgiven the men.
“I really let go a long time ago and dealt with it in my own way, I came to terms with it. For me I know if there is a good outcome or bad outcome I’ve made peace with it. That is what my dad would have wanted.”
But he still wants justice for his family, mother and his dad.
“I was with my dad side by side all the time. He told how to look at the positives and not the negatives. So I think I stuck closer to that than they did, but I know they would really love closure.”
If you have any information about the case, call Detective Cerda at (559) 250-0826. Your tip may help bring closure to this 5-year-old cold case.