Saturday , May 25 2024

Investigation Underway in Shooting Involving CHP Officer; 2 Men Arrested

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting involving a California Highway Patrol officer. Meanwhile, two suspects have been arrested.

Monday around 4:30 a.m., the CHP officer responded to the area of Shaw and Zediker east of Clovis for a report of stolen commercial vehicle after the victim tracked the vehicle using a GPS device.

When the officer arrived, he found a vehicle that appeared to be abandoned in a citrus grove, but then the officer quickly found the vehicle wasn’t abandoned as he approached the vehicle, said Officer Rob Avila with the CHP.

"The vehicle started accelerating toward our patrol vehicle. The vehicle then swerved into the direction of our patrol vehicle and intentionally attempted to ram our patrol vehicle," Avila said.

Avila said the officer, a 10-year veteran of the force, feared for his safety and fired his gun.

"They (suspects) wouldn’t comply with his commands. They did something to make him fear for his safety, and that caused him to draw his gun and fire several rounds in their direction," said Tony Botti, public information officer with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Avila, the gunfire struck the vehicle, a white Ford Ranger pickup.

Officers arrested the driver, 40-year-old Pasquale Desantis.

"A responding sheriff’s deputy came up and took the guy that was in custody off to the hospital because he had complained of pain. We don’t know if he was actually shot or just injured another way," Botti said. 

Detectives said another suspect ran from the scene–19-year-old Levi Young, who allegedly drove the stolen vehicle.

Now, the sheriff’s office is crediting the public with helping to quickly put Young behind bars.

Within an hour of releasing Young’s picture in the media, deputies were able to locate him.

"A very alert citizen called in and said, ‘Hey, I think I see your guy walking along the road here on Ashlan and Zedicker. You might want to come check it out,’" Botti said.

Monday evening, Desantis was being checked out at the hospital for any injuries, but his condition is unknown.

It’s unclear if Young had any injuries.

The sheriff’s office is handling the investigation into this officer involved shooting while the CHP conducts an internal investigation of their own.

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