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February 22, 2007
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Calif. gunman fatally shot by police after Mardi Gras shooting spree

By OLIVIA MUNOZ, Associated Press Writer

FRESNO, Calif. — A gunman was killed by police after a Mardi Gras shooting spree injured three officers and a bystander and sent revelers scurrying for cover, police said.

Joel Perales, 22, of Clovis, started firing a gun Tuesday after officers tried to pull him over in Fresno's Tower District, a neighborhood of bars and restaurants crowded with Fat Tuesday partygoers, police said.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Wednesday Perales initially caught the attention of police because he was driving the wrong way down a one-way street. But he then led police on an extensive stop-and-go chase during which he would stop periodically to shoot at officers, he said.

Police eventually rammed Perales' car to stop him. They demanded to see his hands, but he didn't respond, so officers opened fire. By incident's end, 19 officers were involved and police fired as many as 80 rounds, killing Perales, Dyer said.

Many of the officers already were at the event providing crowd control. Masked and beaded revelers rushed into businesses when the shots rang out. Officers on foot, motorcycles and horses shut down traffic on the neighborhood's main artery.

Three officers and a 56-year-old female bystander remained hospitalized Wednesday with minor injuries, all inflicted by Perales, Dyer said.


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