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Deputies Fire Bean Bags First, Then Kill Knife-Wielding Man in Caruthers



Tahoe Avenue in Caruthers is closed to traffic Tuesday, May 16, 2023, after three deputies shot and killed a knife-wielding man who refused to surrender. (Fresno County SO)
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Three Fresno County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a man who reportedly tried to stab the parent of an athlete working out at the Caruthers Fairgrounds on Tuesday evening.

According to a Fresno County Sheriff’s Office news release, dispatchers received a call of a man brandishing a knife at the fairgrounds at about 5:30 p.m.

Callers to dispatch said that the suspect had tried to talk to athletes while they were training. Two coaches confronted the suspect and that is when he pulled out a knife, said sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti.

Suspect Tries to Stab Parent

The suspect walked away and headed toward the Caruthers post office.  When a parent of an athlete then contacted the suspect there, Botti said, the suspect pulled out a larger knife and attempted to stab the parent.

That parent subsequently advised dispatchers to deputies to a strip mall at Tahoe and Marsh avenues because the suspect was headed there.

When deputies caught up with the suspect in front of a barbershop, he refused numerous commands to drop his weapons and surrender, Botti said.

Deputies Fire Bean Bag Rounds First

Deputies fired less-lethal bean bags, which struck the suspect, but they were ineffective.  As the suspect — still holding a knife — charged the deputies, they shot him and then administered first aid. The suspect died at the scene, Botti said.

No deputies or citizens were injured, according to the sheriff’s office.  The coroner’s office has yet to identify the killed suspect.

Sheriff’s Office Seeks Video of Confrontation

The sheriff’s office asks anyone with video or information about the situation to contact detective Aurelio Flores at (559) 600-8208.

You may also contact Valley Crime Stoppers at 559-498-7867. You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. The case number is 23-5635.


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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