FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Fresno Police Department is under fire following two deadly officer-involved shootings in as many weeks.
Monday, Police Chief Paco Balderrama shed new light on the latest incident saying police officers respond to all types of calls but they’re not trained to handle calls from people struggling with mental health issues.
“We respond to homeless calls, we respond to crisis calls, we respond to individuals who have mental health issues and it shouldn’t be us. It should be individuals who are trained to do this type of work, but you know what there’s nobody out there,” said Balderrama.
Balderrama expressed his concerns when officers are put in a situation they’re not equipt to handle.
“The system let this person down, this is an individual with an extensive history of not just mental health issues but also some drug abuse. He had a condition, he tried to get help for and he didn’t,” Balderrama added.
33-year-old Coy Jackson was shot and killed after police say he was holding a 7-inch blade in his hand when he aggressively lunged at officers.
“He was asked multiple times to drop the weapon and get on the ground and that sadly didn’t happen,” Balderrama said.
Balderrama says Jackson was found standing outside a secured gate near the southwest policing district station, that three officers tried to talk to him, but he didn’t back down.
“This is Saturday night, this is a secure facility. There really is no reason for somebody to be near the gate of a police station with equipment and vehicles inside of it” said, Balderrama.
Jackson was rushed to the hospital where he later died. Balderrama says Jackson had a history of mental health and drug abuse.
Here’s a breakdown of the officer-involved shootings that have happened in Fresno in the last 5 years.
2018- 7 incidents
2019- 3 incidents
2020- 8 incidents
2021- 3 incidents
2022- 7 incidents
2023- 2 incidents so far
In 2021, Chief Balderrama says 388,029 calls for service were made that police officers responded to. 158 of those used force.
“Now is the most difficult time in history to be a police officer but now is when we’re needed the most,” Balderrama said.
Two weeks ago, there was another officer-involved shooting on Herndon and Palm avenue. A video shows a man getting out of a car with his hands up, at some point police say they exchanged fire, and moments later he’s shot and killed by police.
In this latest case, Chief Balderrama said, “I don’t know why he didn’t put it down, I don’t know why he didn’t get on the ground, I don’t know why he didn’t comply, I won’t know why he started advancing at the officers, I don’t know why, but those officers did what they felt was necessary to save their own lives”
Chief Balderrama says there is bodycam footage of this incident that they’re still going over.
The department of justice is investigating the shooting two weeks ago.