NORTH FORK — Sheriff’s deputies are searching for a suspect in connection with a shooting incident and assault last night at the Buckhorn Saloon in North Fork.
According to witnesses, three young men, one age 16, one 19, and one in his mid-twenties, began fighting with customers on the porch of the Buckhorn last night some time after 10 p.m. They reportedly began slamming women in the face and head with beer bottles. At that point, bartenders and customers inside the bar came out to try and get the trouble-makers to leave, and everybody got maced by a customer, says a witness.
One young woman reportedly suffered injuries to her mouth when she was struck with a bottle, and others had lacerations from broken glass. The staff at the bar called for an ambulance and sheriff’s deputies, and all those in the bar then reportedly stepped in and started trying to push the attackers out to the street to get them off property and stop the assault, but the three men kept throwing beer bottles.
Then, before law enforcement arrived at the scene, one of the perpetrators pulled out a gun and began firing, says one witness. That man has been identified by the Sheriff’s Office as Ray Coleman, 22, of North Fork.
“He was only about eight feet away from at least twenty people,” according to the witness, “just aiming at the crowd and firing rapidly, trying to hit anything he could. Thank God no one was hit.” The witness says Coleman fired six times, but he believes the last shots jammed.
The Sheriff’s Office confirms that up to six shots were fired, but can’t confirm whether Coleman was aiming at people or firing into the air.
No one was hit by the gunfire, but several women suffered injuries from being struck with bottles.
One regular customer says that small scuffles at the Buckhorn are not unusual, but bartenders can usually handle things and break them up.
“But when you start hitting women in the face with beer bottles, that’s something else. Everyone there came together and did their best to get the attackers away and provide help for those who were injured.”
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Ray Coleman is asked to call 911 or the Madera County Sheriff’s Office at 559-675-7770.