‘I have no choice:’ Fresno vendors risking safety for livelihood after recent attack on street vendor

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FRESNO, California. (KSEE) – A Fresno street vendor is recovering after he was shot Sunday during a brazen attack in central Fresno. 

Police say Francisco Velasquez was working on Mariposa and Madison Avenue around 5 p.m. when he was robbed and shot. Three people, including a teenager, have since been arrested. 

Valesquez’s daughter set up a Gofundme for her father. In it, she writes that it was not the first time he was attacked while working. In March, she says her father was stabbed, forcing him into surgery and a hefty medical bill. 

Vendors have been targets of violence for years due to their vulnerability. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office encourages them to not work alone, limit cash, work in well-lit areas, and consider applying for a permit to legally carry a firearm.

“It’s scary because I don’t want that to happen to us,” said Owner of El Rey De La Barbacoa food truck Clemente Barrera.

He has owned his food truck for four years. It’s where he and his wife and son work, sometimes late nights with two other employees. 

“When it’s night I have to lock the door so no one comes up and comes inside to do something to us,” said Barrera.

After recent violence, he says fear is growing among vendors. He wishes police could do more to protect them but has no plans to close his business because it’s his only way to make a living. 

“I have to continue working because there’s no choice. I have to do something for life, for living,” said Barrera.

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