FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A suspect blew up a fuel tank before he was shot and killed by deputies with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office early Tuesday morning, according to Assistant Sheriff John Zanoni.
Zanoni said deputies first received a call for service at around 2:00 a.m. in the area of Wintergreen and Belmont avenues, east of Fresno in Fresno County. The responding deputy arrived at the area and saw the suspect on the roadway. The deputy shone the vehicle’s spotlight on the suspect – who responded by firing a gunshot at the deputy and striking the vehicle he was driving, according to Zanoni.
The suspect then fled into a home on Wintergreen Avenue. Deputies responding to that home say they heard a grinding noise and then an explosion. Deputies then reported smelling propane and natural gas. Officials confirmed that the suspect lived at the home that he fled into and orders were given to other homeowners on the street to evacuate.
According to Zanoni, SWAT responded to the scene as well as crisis negotiation. When the suspect left the home, a team went into the home and removed other people from inside.
At approximately 5:15 a.m., officials say the suspect went to the back of the home where he was confronted by SWAT members. Zanoni says they used less-lethal rounds to stop the suspect – but that was not effective.
“There was no other option but for deputies to use lethal force,” said Zanoni.
Deputies attempted CPR on the suspect but he did not survive.
Zanoni added that several firearms with loaded magazines were found on the property. Drone footage also showed the suspect handling firearms on the property. Investigators say the suspect caused a five-gallon propane tank to explode – and the suspect used a tool to puncture a 500 gallon propane tank also stored on the property.
The suspect’s identity has not been officially released.