FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE)- An 18-year-old Calwa Gang Member was arrested for the murder of 52-year-old Javier Fernandez, leading to more than a dozen other arrests.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims along with District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp spoke on the gang activity during a press conference Friday.
The homicide happened July 9th when Fernandez was shot and killed near his Malaga home.
The three-month investigation into Fernandez’s murder ended in the arrest of 14 people tied to Calwa gangs.
“These are killers and they’re children, and they’re being told what to do by sophisticated criminals,” Mims said.
Fernandez, who was described as a loving father and grandfather, was shot multiple times in broad daylight. Detectives were able to identify the suspect’s vehicle, which they later found burned.
After releasing surveillance pictures, public tips pointed to 18-year-old Richard Aguilar’s house, where he was taken into custody after a standoff.
During the investigation, a total of 14 locations were searched, and a dozen guns were seized.
“Our investigation was very important because it did result in peripheral arrests which means our hope is we’re stopping potential violent crime from happening,” Mims said.
Among those arrested was 42-year-old Christina Lopez. She is the mother of 16-year-old Isaiah Murrietta-Golding, a murder suspect, who was shot and killed by police in 2017.
The city has since paid Lopez out millions of dollars in settlement money, which Smittcamp said she’s been using to buy guns for her 14-year-old son and other teen gang members.
“As a mother, and a prosecutor and a citizen of this county for my entire life, this is some of the most despicable behavior I’ve ever seen from a human being,” Smittcamp said.
Mims said 47-year-old Jessie Aguilar was also a notable arrest. He was already serving a life sentence for a 2014 homicide and has been allegedly directing young teen gang members to commit murders from behind bars.
Investigators are still evaluating the guns seized to see if they might be linked to other crimes. The sheriff’s office is looking to speak with anyone who may have additional information about this investigation.