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Arson Suspect Guns Down 3 Officers

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  • Arson Suspect Guns Down 3 Officers

    A long-drawn gunbattle, which began Thursday morning when a CalFire arson investigator attempted to serve a search warrant, resulted in one Fresno County Sheriff's deputy killed on scene, one Reedley Police officer critically wounded, and another Fresno SO deputy wounded and listed as in "stable condition".

    The warrant was being served at the suspect's home in Minkler, CA, population 30, near Kings Canyon Park in central CA. Warrant was in reponse to an ongoing investigation into a series of area arson fires.

    Witnesses stated Thurs that "hundreds" of rounds were exchanged by the time Fresno Co deputies sent a remote-control robot into the suspect's home sometime in mid-afternoon, and determined that the suspect was dead. It is still unclear whether the fatal wound was fired by LEO, or was self-inflicted.

    For more:

    Last edited by 5423; 02-28-2010, 03:45 PM.
    "I'll defend with my life your right to disagree with me" - anonymous

  • #2
    Well, just to make terrible news even worse-

    This from AP/Yahoo News:

    "Officials name suspect in fatal CA deputy shootout

    Investigators believe the gunman who killed a California deputy in a mobile home shootout was a former security guard who once had a permit to carry weapons, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press Friday...

    Rick "Ricky" Ray Liles, 51, who also died in the shooting, was named in a search warrant involving prvious arsons and random gunshots what was being served when Thursday's gunbattle erupted...

    Joel Wahlenmaier, 49, the slain deputy, was a 12-year veteran of the (Fresno County) department. The husband and father... worked as a detective in the homicide bureau...

    Police Officer Javier Bejar was critically wounded in the gunbattle when he arrived for backup from the nearby town of Reedely. Officials said he was not expected to recover from his injuries.

    Reedley City Manager Rocky Rogers said Bejar, who had two years on the police force, was being kept alive so his family can pay their last respects.

    "He had a very commanding presence about him, being a former US Marine," Roger said.

    Deputy Mark Harris was wounded and is recovering... "

    Full article can currently be read at:

    (Above link is the 'current and breaking' link to this story; will update periodically, and story may not be available for long.)
    "I'll defend with my life your right to disagree with me" - anonymous


    • #3
      YahooNews - The Associated Press (Online) 03/01/10 - 0816 EST

      (Full article at)

      FRESNO, Calif. – After praying four days for a miracle, the family of a California police officer critically wounded in a gunbattle seemed to accept Monday it wasn't going to happen.

      At 5:30 a.m., they allowed doctors to remove the life support that had sustained Reedley police Officer Javier Bejar since he was shot Thursday...

      Julia Mendoza, whose son grew up with Bejar, said the officer was a former U.S. Marine who grew up in Orange Cove, a nearby citrus-growing town. He said Friday that Bejar's family was waiting for God to perform a miracle.

      Bejar, 28, joined the rural department in 2005 and served a tour of duty in Iraq after rising through the ranks as a teenage police Explorer Scout.

      Authorities said he was shot with a high-powered rifle from 80 yards away by Rick "Ricky" Ray Liles, 51, as Bejar crouched behind his patrol car to back up sheriff's deputies serving a search warrant on Liles at his mobile home in the village of Minkler...

      Bejar was the department officer of the year in 2007 and received a lifesaving medal last year...

      Fresno County sheriff's detective Joel Wahlenmaier, 49, was killed trying to serve the warrant with a fire investigator and backup from nine other officers. Liles apparently fired the AR-15 rifle through the front door of his trailer when officers tried to serve him with the warrant.

      Deputy Mark Harris suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

      More than 150 officers, including SWAT teams from three cities, descended on Minkler, a town of 30 on the highway to Kings Canyon National Park. A total of 24 sworn officers from six law enforcement agencies fired as many as 400 shots into the trailer during the standoff.

      Investigators counted 535 entry and exit holes after the siege ended.

      Memorial services for Wahlenmaier will be held at Peoples Church at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Burial will follow at Clovis Cemetery. Services for the Fresno native are open to the public.

      Bejar's service plans are incomplete, but the funeral could be held as early as Friday.
      "I'll defend with my life your right to disagree with me" - anonymous


      • #4
        Full article at:

        The Associated Press:

        Thousands attend memorial for slain Calif. deputy

        Wed Mar 3, 4:14 pm ET
        FRESNO, Calif. – A sheriff's deputy killed in a California mobile home shootout is being remembered as a mentor to his colleagues.

        The memorial for 49-year-old Joel Wahlenmaier on Wednesday drew nearly 3,000 officials and law enforcement officers from around the state, including California Attorney General Jerry Brown.

        Wahlenmaier's colleagues spoke during the service, describing his work on the Fresno County sheriff's search-and-rescue team and his role in advising fellow deputies.

        Wahlenmaier was killed during a Feb. 25 gunbattle...

        Wahlenmaier was a 12-year veteran of the department and father of two adult children.

        Reedley Police Officer Javier Bejar also was mortally wounded and died Monday. His funeral is scheduled for March 8.
        "I'll defend with my life your right to disagree with me" - anonymous