Final Madera Shooting Suspect Nabbed in Fresno Print
News - Local
Written by B|V|N Newsroom   
Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:25

FRESNO - Within a week of a shooting incident that could have costs the lives of a Madera Police Officer and a civilian ride-along, all three suspects are now in custody. Friday night the Special Investigations Unit of the Madera Police Department along with the assistance of the California Department of Justice, U.S. Marshal Service, Fresno Police Department and Fresno County Sheriffs Department, attempted murder suspect James Cruz was apprehended.

Two of the suspects in last Sunday mornings shooting of a Madera Police cruiser as it was attempting to make a traffic stop were booked into the Madera County Jail Tuesday. The incident has attracted national media attention to this little Central California town. With the driver and the shooter in custody, Madera Police focused all their attention on the last suspect, Bulldog gang member James Cruz.

The task force had information that the suspect was in the Southeast area of Fresno. Their investigation later led them to a residence in the area of Liberty and 8th Street.  The team received information that the suspect was inside of the residence with family members.

Fresno Police Officers assisted the task force with surrounding the home. After strategically surrounding the location, officers used a PA to both announce their presence and direct occupants to exit. The suspect was taken into custody after exiting the residence without incident.

A second subject, Edward Vallejo, was also arrested after he left in a vehicle. Officers conducted a traffic stop on this subject who looked similar to the primary suspect. This subject, also a Bulldog gang member, had an outstanding felony warrant for auto theft.

According to Madera Police Lieutenant Gino Chiramonte, Cruz had been eluding law enforcement for the last week with a handful of wigs, hats and sunglasses. "The suspect hid out in a cabin up at Shaver Lake for a couple of days and at a house in Fowler.", Chiramonte added.

Two other suspects were apprehended Tuesday following a promise by Madera Police Chief Steve Frazier at a Monday morning press conference that all the suspects would be in custody by the end of the week. Thanks to the hard work and long hours of of police work, that promise was kept.

During a early Sunday morning (November 23, 2016) stop of a new white Mazda SUV on the west side of Madera PD Officer Julian Garcia and his civilian ride-along passenger Yessica Valencia began a high speed pursuit of a suspect through a residential area that ended in gunfire and a disabled police vehicle.

Around 4:30am Sunday morning the officer was attempting to pull the suspect over at Howard Road and Mainberry Drive when the suspect's just took off at speeds of over 50 mph. The chase went through two stop signs before it entered the Venturi subdivision across Sunset Avenue.

At this point the ride along passenger, who was a member of the Madera Police Citizen's Academy, noticed a gun coming out the passengers window of the suspects vehicle. Two or three blocks ahead at Lighthouse Drive and Mainberry the suspect began firing a weapon at the police car four times,. One bullet pierced an outside wall of a neighborhood home entering the bedroom of the home owners daughter..

The dashboard camera caught all the action, including the pleas from the civilian ride along to not follow the suspect. She got her wish for the chase to end when the last volley of bullets disabled the police car on Lighthouse just a block from Shannon Avenue where the officer lost sight of the vehicle.

Later Madera Police recovered the suspect's car at the 400 block of Krest Street just four blocks from the shooting. That is when Madera Police learned the vehicle was stolen out of Fresno on October 5, 2016. Officer’s searched the area and located an AR15 style pistol and other evidence. The stolen vehicle had paper dealer advertising plates.  Chief Frazier said the suspects left behind lots of physical evidence but would not expand on what that evidence was.

The officer was not injured during the incident. The civilian ride along, Valencia, received minor scratches from broken glass. The officer had recently been released from (FTO) training and was on his second week as a solo officer.

Suspect Thomas Matthew Garcia (33) of Fresno has been identified as the shooter. He is an active member of the Fresno Bulldog gang and was taken into custody in Fresno. The shooter has an extensive criminal history including multiple assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest charges.

Also arrested was the driver of the vehicle, Serena Arroyo (26) of Fresno. Her affiliation to any gangs is not known at this time, however she is the single mother of a little boy.

The investigation is ongoing. If you have any information, please contact Detective Sergeant Johnny Smith at (559) 675-4291.