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Homicide Victim in Suspected Fresno Gang Ambush Is Identified

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Fresno police are asking for the public's help in identifying three suspects in a suspected gang ambush at Superior Smoke Shop. (Fresno PD)
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Fresno police have identified a 26-year-old man killed in what was believed to be a gang ambush at Superior Smoke Shop on Wednesday.

Authorities said Friday that Joseph Riley died in the shooting shortly before noon at the shop in a strip mall at Blackstone and Princeton avenues.

A second shooting victim, 19 years old, is listed in stable condition at Community Regional Medical Center where he’s being treated for a bullet wound to his face.

Through witness statements and video surveillance, detectives determined that before the shooting, three suspects entered the store. After the victims arrived, the suspects open fire. And, they continued shooting as they chased them before fleeing the scene.

Police said Friday that the suspects haven’t been identified.

Detectives Need Tips to Solve Homicide

Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to contact homicide detective A. Nieto at (559) 621-2415 or detective S. Gray at (559) 621-2451.

Tipsters can also relay anonymous information to Valley Crime Stoppers at 498-STOP (7867).

‘Grace of God’ Spared Others in Shooting

After the shooting, police said it was “only by the grace of God nobody else was hurt” at the strip mall.

“We’re talking about a busy shopping commerce area in the middle of the day,” Lt. Paul Cervantes told The Fresno Bee. “Multiple shots were fired in either direction.”

Lt. Bill Dooley said that Riley was the 59th homicide victim this year in Fresno. A year ago, at this time, Fresno had 71 homicides.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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