Fresno-area law enforcement agencies come together to honor fallen Selma police officer
A line of flashing lights on emergency vehicles lit up downtown Fresno then Highway 99 on Tuesday night as local law enforcement and other first responders came together to honor a fallen Selma Police officer.
While the identity of the Selma officer was not publicly known Tuesday (he was identified Wednesday as Gonzalo Carrasco Jr., 24), his death while on duty resonated with many law-enforcement agencies.
Carrasco had been with the department two years.
And it was revealed Tuesday night that he was an expectant father, according to the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office.
“It is a tragic day in the County of Fresno and the state of California,” Fresno County DA Lisa Simttcamp said in a news release, “as we have suffered the loss of another fine peace officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty by a callous and violent criminal.”
Tuesday night’s procession was led by the Selma Police Department and included units from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Fresno Police, California Highway Patrol and other agencies.
Carrasco’s body was transported in a white Cadillac hearse from Community Regional Medical Center, where he had been rushed after the shooting, to the Fresno County Coroner’s Office south of the city with the line of emergency units following as an escort.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the Selma Police officer who tragically lost his life in the performance of his duties today,” Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama wrote and posted on social media. “The Fresno Police Department stands besides our brothers and sisters at the Selma Police Department as they too mourn the loss of one of their own.”
Our hearts go out to the family of the Selma Police Officer who tragically lost his life in the performance of his duties today. The Fresno Police Department stands besides our brothers snd sisters at the Selma Police Department as they too mourn the loss of one of their own. pic.twitter.com/HDS9Xc831W
— Chief Paco Balderrama (@BalderramaPaco) February 1, 2023
The DA’s office said Carrasco was the son of farmworkers, went to the police academy and took the initiative to educate himself.
Before joining the Selma Police, he took part in the Explorer Program at the Reedley Police Department.
Carrasco was on patrol around 11:45 a.m. Tuesday when a homeowner flagged him down after a man “who looked suspicious and was unknown to the area” was spotted in front of a house.
Selma Police Chief Rudy Alcaraz said the officer was exiting his vehicle to make contact with the suspect when he was fired upon several times and struck.
Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni called the shooting a “senseless act of violence.”
“We have an individual,” Zanoni said, “with multiple priors for felonies who was out in our community today (and) took the life of a Selma Police officer needlessly.”
A 23-year-old suspect who law enforcement believes is responsible for killing the Selma officer was arrested Tuesday afternoon and booked into Fresno County Jail on murder and other charges. He was identified Wednesday as Nathaniel Dixon.
The Selma community mourned the loss of an officer who was trying to protect and serve at the time he was shot.
Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, who spent 40 years with the Fresno Police, expressed deep sadness about the officer’s death.
“The reality of the dangers of police work has hit so close to home today,” Dyer said in a social media post. “Our hearts are broken for the family of the Selma police officer who was gunned down in the line of duty.
“Today, he gave his life in service to the community. We are so saddened by this tremendous loss.”
— Mayor Jerry Dyer (@MayorJerryDyer) February 1, 2023