Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies have taken a 53 year old Squaw Valley man into custody. He is at the hospital undergoing a mental evaluation. Once released, he will be booked into the Fresno County Jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and negligently discharging a firearm inside a home.
Shortly before 10:00 pm Sunday night, a man called the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office to report strange activity taking place outside his house located on the 35000 block of George Smith Road in Squaw Valley. The 53 year old man claimed he was witnessing about a dozen people who were tearing up his property and killing his animals. He told dispatchers he was armed with a gun and would defend himself.
As deputies responded, they learned the man’s adult son was also inside the house. The man continued to speak with dispatchers over the phone, but was not making sense. Deputies arrived and focused on trying to safely get the man’s son out of the home. However, their efforts were delayed once they heard several gunshots being fired inside the home and they could not determine exactly where the suspect was located.
About 30 minutes later, dispatchers were able to call the suspect’s son. They encouraged him to get out of the house. He eventually walked out of the home and met deputies by their patrol vehicles. A short time later, the man fired out of the house toward deputies. Two deputies returned fire with the suspect. None of the deputies were struck. It was unknown at the time if the suspect had been hit.
Due to the dangerous circumstances, the Sheriff’s SWAT team was called to the scene. Around 12:00 am, SWAT members approached the house to try and find the suspect. While doing so, they heard more gunshots inside the house. Just before 1:00 am, deputies found the suspect outside, running across the property. They were able to capture him without incident. He was not seriously injured. Arrangements were made to transport him to a hospital in Fresno.
It is unclear what if any substance(s) the suspect was under the influence of, but more answers should be known following the results of tests taken at the hospital.
Detectives have obtained a search warrant and are looking around the five acre parcel of land for evidence. Records are also being checked for any possible prior contact our office has had with the suspect. This remains an ongoing investigation.