Selma, CA – Selma Police Department (SPD) Officer Gonzalo Carrasco was murdered in the line of duty on Jan. 31 after he stopped to help a resident who had spotted a trespasser on her property.
Investigators said the 24-year-old officer was out on patrol in the 2600-block of Pine Street at approximately 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday when he was flagged down by a resident who told him there was a suspicious person in her yard, the SPD said in a press release on Wednesday.
As Officer Carrasco got out of his patrol car to investigate the report, 23-year-old felon Nathaniel Dixon opened fire on him, hitting him multiple times, according to police.
SPD Chief Rudy Alcaraz told reporters the attack occurred so fast that Officer Carrasco never had the opportunity to return fire.
Dixon fled the scene after the deadly ambush but was apprehended by deputies in the area of Sequoia Street and Fig Street at approximately 12:10 p.m.
The gunman’s firearm was recovered a short distance away from the arrest location, according to the SPD.
Officer Carrasco was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center, where he succumbed to his wounds after being rushed into emergency surgery.
He was the first Selma police officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Dixon, a felon who has been convicted of robbery, drugs, and firearms charges and served prison time in the past, was booked into the Fresno County Jail on charges of murder, probation violation, and felon in possession of a gun and ammunition, KFSN reported.
His bail was set at $1.2 million.
Dixon was sentenced to five years and four months in prison as recently as March of 2022, but was out on the streets on Post Release Community Supervision by September under California’s “prison realignment” law, The Fresno Bee reported.
“The shooter is an admitted gang member and has been arrested for several felony offenses that were prosecuted by the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office for charges related to robbery, weapons, and drugs,” Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp told reporters, according to KBAK.
Smittcamp said Officer Carrasco “was shot and killed in cold blood by a 23-year-old felon with no regard for human life.”
“Governor Gavin Newsom, and every legislator in the state of California who supports this over-reaching phenomenon they try to disguise as legitimate criminal justice reform, has the blood of this officer on their hands,” the outraged prosecutor added, according to KBAK.
Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni said investigators were working to determine the motive for the shooting, and told reporters the officer’s murder could be gang-related.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) is handling the ongoing investigation into the young officer’s murder, according to the SPD.
Officer Carrasco graduated from Reedley High School in 2016 and was active in basketball and football during his high school years, KFSN reported.
He participated in the Reedley Police Department’s Explorer Program prior to joining the SPD as a non-paid reserve officer in 2020, the SPD said in a press release on Wednesday.
“As a proud son of farmworkers, Gonzalo took the initiative to pursue his education and later attend the police academy,” the SPD said.
Officer Carrasco became a sworn officer in 2021.
The SPD noted he was awaiting the birth of his first child.
Officer Carrasco leaves behind his pregnant girlfriend, as well as his parents, sisters, and brother.
“Selma lost a member of the family yesterday, the brave police officer who gave his life in the line of duty while working to keep all of us safe,” Selma Mayor Scott Robertson said in a press release. “We will never forget the sacrifice of this officer, and our prayers go out to his family and loved ones and to our Police Department, City and Community which is shocked from this sudden and violent taking of a good person whose life was cut short far too soon.”
A procession is underway outside CRMC for the fallen Selma officer. Set to start any minute @KMPHFOX26 pic.twitter.com/1d3hFWIFsX
— Mayra Franco (@MayraFrancoTV) February 1, 2023
Murdered Selma Police Officer Identified; Suspect Booked into Jail #RIPGonzaloCarrascoJrhttps://t.co/weWr8fWplF pic.twitter.com/XdoPhnDeFO
— Fresno Co Sheriff (@FresnoSheriff) February 1, 2023
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
We’re learning more about the Selma Police Officer shot and killed in the line of duty. His dreams of protecting and serving the community started in Reedley, where educators describe him as “the son every parent wanted— good grades, athletic and goal oriented.” @ABC30 https://t.co/bKqe6MK5Zt pic.twitter.com/fT6nyCYvqK
— Vanessa Vasconcelos (@VanessaABC30) February 1, 2023
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Selma Police Department Officer Gonzalo Carrasco, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Gonzalo Carrasco, your life mattered.