MADERA COUNTY – Officers and deputies continue their search for a man suspected in an auto theft, following an officer involved shooting near Millerton Lake.
A police standoff began at around 4 a.m. this morning, when members of the Fresno HEAT* (Help Eliminate Auto Theft) Task Force located a stolen car in Fresno County.
The team conducted a surveillance operation on the car and followed the suspect into Madera County.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the suspect discovered he was being followed and led law enforcement officers to a home on the 49000 block of Road 210, near the community of Fine Gold.
The suspect then got out of the car and ran toward the house. HEAT members surrounded the home and identified themselves as law enforcement, and officers and deputies exchanged dialogue with a resident inside the home (not the car theft suspect) for approximately one hour.
The Sheriff’s Office reports that the resident then pointed a rifle out a window of the home in the direction of officers. A Fresno County Sheriff’s Deputy who is on the HEAT Task Force, fired two shots with his rifle at the gunman, which struck and killed him.
The Madera County Sheriff’s SWAT team then searched the house and found it to be empty. Investigators are still trying to determine if there is a relationship between the deceased gunman and the auto theft suspect.
A woman who was inside the stolen vehicle has been taken into custody. The driver who fled the car has not been located.
Multiple law enforcement agencies are actively searching the area for this man, both by air and on the ground. He is described as being white, in his mid-20s, 6 feet tall with blond hair and several tattoos. He may be wearing a black tank top, beige or blue shorts and have a cut on his forehead.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency investigating the officer-involved shooting. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is also conducting its own independent investigation. The identity of the deceased suspect is not available at this time.
Anyone with information on the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to please contact the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office at 559-600-3111, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office at 559-675-7770, or Crime Stoppers at 559-498-STOP (7867).
*Fresno HEAT is comprised of members from the California Highway Patrol, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Clovis Police Department.