FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — A teen has been arrested and charged with the death of security guard Philip Frusetta at a Fresno Motel 6 location on Aug. 24.
Police arrested the 17-year-old and as of Friday, he has been charged with murder in the shooting death of Frusetta. The teen is being held at the Juvenile Justice Campus in Fresno County.
“This was a senseless act of violence that stemmed from a disturbance between males and females at the motel, which led to Frusetta asking the juveniles to leave the property,” said a news release from the Fresno Police Department on Monday.
He leaves behind a young son, whose mother Mina Serrano, 22, was also tragically killed in a car crash two years ago. His son has been living with a foster family since his mother died in 2019.
Frusetta’s cousin, Nickolas Cropper, says Frusetta got the job as a security guard back in April so he could save money for an apartment and regain custody of his son.
“He was trying everything in his power to better his life… He started going to church, he got baptized… He was doing everything that someone can to do better for themselves,” Cropper said.
“He was a great guy: a kind, generous, hard-working man that would give you his shirt off his back if he needed to,” said his mother, Christy Hernandez.
According to police, Frusetta was shot after approaching a group of people who were shouting at one another on the second level of the motel.
“Officers arrived and located 24-year old, Philip Frusetta lying on the second-floor landing of the motel. He was unresponsive and suffering from a gunshot wound,” said a release from the Fresno Police department. “Officers and EMS performed CPR on the victim but despite their efforts, he was pronounced deceased on scene by paramedics.”
Police say Frusetta was employed by Black Python Security in Fresno.
“He was an unarmed guard who was assigned specifically to the Motel 6,” said Lt. Larry Bowlan with the Fresno Police Department.
Jeromy McHenry owns a private security company in Fresno. He says had his company been contracted at motels in the area where Frusetta was killed, he would take the utmost precaution.
“I would probably take a look at crime statistics,” McHenry said. “I might actually consider that it might be an armed site.”
“He was doing his job. He was doing his job and it caused his death, and it’s just heartbreaking to know that now he’s gone,” Jessica Menera a friend and former coworker said.
Menera called it a heartbreaking situation and says Frusetta was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“You’re going out there to work, to provide for your family and you don’t know if you’re going to come back or not, you know? And it’s just coming to a point where it’s enough. You know? We need to do something about this crime,” Menera said.
Frusetta’s death was the city’s 49th homicide compared to 26 at that point last year and the second homicide at this particular Motel 6 in just over two years.
At the time, a spokesperson for Motel 6 released a statement that read:
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the killing of a security guard who worked at a Motel 6 in Fresno, California. The safety and security of our guests and property team members is our top priority.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for a funeral and headstone.
In 2017, a different Motel 6 just a half-mile north along Blackstone was the scene of another fatal shooting where 25-year-old Carl Williams also was shot and killed by Kori Muhammad while working as a private security guard. Muhammad would go on to shoot and kill three in Downtown Fresno. Muhammad is now serving life in Prison.
Police say they’ve doubled the number of gang suppression teams on the streets from two to four trying to curb violence in the city.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Fresno Police Department. You can call Homicide Detective Ryan Rockwell at (559) 621-2448 or Detective Chris Franks at (559) 621-2427. You can reference case number 21046128.