Fresno’s first homicide victim was leaving for the Army next month

State News

The second shooting victim, who is still in the hospital, is said to be very active in his church

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — An 18-year-old man who recently enlisted in the Army has been killed in what Fresno police is calling a “senseless act.” A second victim in the same shooting remains in the hospital in critical condition.

Local resident Matthew Her ran to the store, but by the time he got back to his home near Tyler and 5th Street, there were police cars and crime scene tape blocking his way.

“I thought the car just got pulled over,” Her said. “I didn’t think it was a shooting, [none of my neighbors] heard any gunshots.”

Fresno Police received 911 calls around 11 p.m. Wednesday that someone was bleeding from the head. Officers arrived to find a car riddled with bullets and 18-year-old Dezon Cheatham dead inside.

Officers followed a trail of blood to find the other victim, a 17-year-old shot in the face. He was immediately taken to Community Regional Center in Fresno.

“What the leads are based on right now is any forensic evidence left at the scene. We’re still waiting to see if anything comes back on the vehicle, whether there’s DNA or fingerprints in there,” Lt. Larry Bowlan said.

Bowlan said both victims had a lot ahead of them and were just normal kids. Cheatham recently enlisted in the Army and was scheduled to leave next month.

He adds neither were involved in gangs.

“[Roberts] is very active in his church, so, it’s heartbreaking to us,” Bowlan said. “It’s heartbreaking to the families and it’s also heartbreaking in the community because they’re tired of seeing this type of violence as much as we are.”

Due to the uptick in violence from the end of 2019, Bowlan said Fresno Police is undertaking a gang enforcement operation for the next few weeks. Bowlan adds that not all violence is gang-related, but hopes the increased enforcement helps keep the streets safer.

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