EXCLUSIVE: YourCentralValley captures arrest of suspect in Nick Kauls murder


A Fresno man was charged in the murder of 17-year-old Nick Kauls, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.

Only YourCentralValley’s cameras were rolling when 22-year-old Joseph Antonio Espinoza was taken into custody.

Espinoza was arrested on assault charges stemming from an incident that occurred on June 26. He was apprehended with the use of a Fresno Police K9.

Nick was shot in the course of robbery on June 24 and later died on June 28.

On June 26, detectives with Fresno H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Theft Task Force) found a 2018 Toyota Highlander that had recently been reported stolen, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. As they approached the driver of the vehicle at a fast food restaurant near Shaw and Cedar avenues, the driver used the SUV to ram a detective’s vehicle, as well as another vehicle. 

The suspect, later identified as Espinoza, ran from the vehicle and tried to hide in a dumpster at a nearby apartment complex, the Sheriff’s Office said. A Fresno Police K9 found and bit Espinoza allowing officers to take him into custody. Espinoza was booked into the Fresno County Jail and remained in custody.

An ongoing investigation by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Fresno Police Department, and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office into the string of attempted robberies and shootings that occurred on the night of June 24 — culminating in the shooting death of Nick Kauls — resulting in murder charges being filed Friday, the DA’s Office said.

He has a court appearance scheduled on July 16.

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