Off-duty CDCR Sergeant called ‘hero’ for stopping Fresno gunman

An off-duty CDCR Correctional Sergeant shot a gunman, who was randomly shooting motorists, is being hailed by the Fresno Police Department as a “hero.”

The Sergeant, who was not identified, shot gang member Joshua Lewis, 21, of Fresno, four times as Lewis embarked on a shooting and carjacking attack, the Fresno Bee and police said. The gunman killed two people before the CDCR Sergeant intervened.

The wounded gunman fled in a stolen SUV, which he crashed a short time later. Lewis died of his wounds shortly later, police said.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer hailed the CDCR sergeant as a “hero.” There is “no doubt” that more people would have been killed if not for the CDCR Sergeant, Chief Dyer said.

Media reports and police gave this account:

The off-duty CDCR Sergeant, a former Marine, left his vehicle and headed toward Lewis after Lewis’ carjacking attempt failed and he began shooting motorists stranded in their cars.

The Sergeant’s wife tried to stop him.  “He tells his wife, ‘Babe, I’ve got to go — duty,’ ” said Fresno Police Detective John Viveros.

A witness told the Fresno Bee that he watched the CDCR Sergeant and another armed civilian approach Lewis.

“It was scary,” the witness said. “Thank God for those two guys … He would have killed more people… If it wasn’t for the (CDCR Sergeant), he might have gone after more cars.”

Police don’t know why Lewis started shooting indiscriminately.

According to court records, the Fresno Bee reported, Lewis was arrested two years ago for street terrorism and carrying a loaded firearm in public. In June 2012, he was given a three-year suspended sentence and got three years probation in exchange for his no-contest plea. 

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34 Responses

  1. Anonymous Thursday, February 11, 2016 / 5:31 pm

    I would like you to know that despite the actions of Joshua he had a loving family and a beautiful daughter who loved him dearly we may never know what he was going through that caused him to do these things but one thing i do know is that he had a family who loved him dearly and unconditionally. We have also lost a loved one regardless of what circumstances were, we lost him too and it has been a detriment affect to us and his child so please before everyone continues to talk down on him, and award someone for killing another human remember he has a baby girl that one day will see all of this. God bless you and your families as god is the only one that has our final judgement.
    We LOVE YOU JOSHUA and until its my turn i will always remember you as the great man and father you were and not what happened on your last day.

    • J. Carrillo Friday, February 12, 2016 / 3:37 pm

      Most people would not realize the impact upon the family on the other side of an incident like this. I don’t believe anyone would intentionally wish suffering and pain upon your family and probably don’t realize negative comments can be hurtful to those Joshua left behind, so thank you for expanding our emotional horizons by sharing a different angle to consider. God does hold the final judgment over us all. I can’t imagine how it would feel for a beloved family member to commit an act like that and how hard it would be to try to deal with the clash between your love for them and confusion over the behavior you may feel was uncharacteristic.

      In all fairness, though, if Joshua had been one of the innocent lives saved that day when a pair of men chose to selflessly risk their own life to protect others, your family would probably want those two men to be recognized for chancing death to help save his life. That takes a selflessness and courage to take action which a lot of people would not exhibit. That is the commendable behavior people want to recognize. I don’t see anyone saying we should “award someone for killing another human.”

      If I think about being in that same situation, I would feel like I HAD to do something, but it would be so hard to look into my wife’s eyes for possibly the last time and risking our future together in order to go try to help people I’d never met. It isn’t like the movies where there is enough time to say farewell just in case I never came back…each second of delay might be one more innocent life ended. I would hate to be put in the situation where I had to risk taking one life to save multiple others, but what choice is there?

      In real life you don’t just shoot the gun out of someone’s hand and everyone walks away relatively unscathed. There were more victims that day than those that were physically wounded. If I had to take someone’s life even to save others, I think I’d always feel a heaviness in my heart. I’d never want to be put in that situation – there’s no win-win for anyone.

      As the Lord’s Prayer says “Forgive us our trespasses as we would forgive those that trespass against us.” Let us also consider situations from another’s point of view as we would like them to consider things from our viewpoint. I’m sure that sergeant never woke up hoping he’d witness a tragedy, be involved in one, or end up taking a life. Let’s pray that God will grant peace to all of those involved, directly or indirectly, with such tragedies.

  2. Just a thought Friday, February 7, 2014 / 5:15 pm

    I hope his family will be able to heal quickly and be well cared for. This is truly a sad situation.

  3. Lieutenant R. Rice Thursday, February 6, 2014 / 10:51 pm

    BRAVO ZULU Marine!

  4. M. Young Thursday, February 6, 2014 / 3:42 am

    Job well done SGT! Would walk the line any day with you…

  5. Corporal Paul Browder, USMC Wednesday, February 5, 2014 / 10:19 pm

    Semper Fidelis Devil Dog! In the coming weeks and months I’m sure we will hear much more about you. Stay vigilant! Good hunting Marine!

  6. J. Nail Wednesday, February 5, 2014 / 4:56 am

    Semper Fi
    Devil Dog

  7. R. Lozano Monday, February 3, 2014 / 7:07 pm

    Thank you for risking your life to save others. You deserve the Metal of Valor and more…

    • Sandra Acox Tuesday, February 4, 2014 / 5:30 pm

      Definitely, you deserve the Medal of Valor! I thank you for your willingness to step in and assist, because so often we don’t want to get involved. Thank you for getting involved, for risking your life and saving others!

  8. frank walker Saturday, February 1, 2014 / 4:35 am

    I feel this CDCR sergeant should be nominated for the CDCR Medal of Valor. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation should recognize his effort to save lives at the risk of his own. God bless this sergeant and his family. I am proud to be part of CDCR.

    • Bill Monday, February 3, 2014 / 4:38 pm

      The Medal of Valor covers events during the previous calendar year. The upcoming Medal of Valor honors will be for events during the calendar year 2013. This event will be covered by next year’s Medal of Valor ceremony (2015.)

  9. A Thursday, January 30, 2014 / 4:49 pm

    Semper Fi brother

  10. Danis, K Thursday, January 30, 2014 / 1:36 pm

    Simply thank you for your bravery!

  11. Stephanie Witham Tuesday, January 28, 2014 / 8:33 pm

    You were in the right place at the right time. Thank you for saving lives! You are a HERO! Though I don’t know your name, I’m proud to work with you!

  12. DARLENE AMBRIZ Tuesday, January 28, 2014 / 6:43 pm

    I am proud to work for CDCR and thankful for all the great people who walk the toughest beat in the State of California.

  13. Brian Baker Tuesday, January 28, 2014 / 6:05 pm

    Medal of Valor, Lifetime Hero Award and Keys to the City! Job well done!

  14. Kim Gallegos, P.A. I Tuesday, January 28, 2014 / 4:33 pm

    Nicely done Sgt! I for one am proud to be a part of your team! As a sister, and aunt of former Marines, I too give you a hearty Urrrrr and Semper Fidelis!

  15. Antar Jannah Tuesday, January 28, 2014 / 1:46 am

    Thank You. You are from a rare breed. May God bless you both for your courage to commit such a brave and selfless act.

  16. Arthur Hernandez Monday, January 27, 2014 / 7:46 pm

    The armed sergeant, and armed citizen, stepped up for the community and stopped a killing spree.

    Thank God for those two heroes.

  17. Derrick Patrick Sunday, January 26, 2014 / 7:31 pm

    Outstanding job Sergeant! And I very much agree that CDCR should award Sarge for his heroic act. Who knows how many more would have died from this idiot’s stupidity. Gdd bless

  18. John Barker Sunday, January 26, 2014 / 10:40 am

    Absolutely spot on every one of you! In this day of putting heroes down as damaged goods and making sport out of marring, we finally get a shining example of what a true hero does, putting aside his own safety to ensure the safety of others. Semper Fi Marine, whomever you are.

  19. Lieutenant D. Plunkett Sunday, January 26, 2014 / 3:55 am

    True Hero(es) unselfishly put there own personal safety in jeopardy to save the lives of others. As a veteran myself and a father of a active duty Marine, I say Semper Fidelis! Thank you both for your valor, honor, courage, and commitment to yourself, family, badge brothers and sisters in green and the Department of Corrections. Well done! I hope the Department of Corrections, City of Fresno, and State of California recognize this moment of valor.

  20. SGT D. LOPEZ, CMC Saturday, January 25, 2014 / 5:20 pm

    Thank You Marine. Jb weel done! CDCR Medal of Valor nomination is well deserved. One doesn’t go out looking for trouble, but when it does, hopefully all of us at CDCR will do as you have. Thank You for your service. God speed to you and your family.

  21. Marion Spearman Saturday, January 25, 2014 / 4:44 am

    I too agree, the Sergeant is a true HERO. Another testament to brave employees who work for the CDCR and who believe in public safety on and off duty.

  22. D. Lisch, OT Friday, January 24, 2014 / 7:42 pm

    Thank you to both unknown heroes; I hope official recognition of both of these outstanding men is in the works.

  23. C/O Barboza Friday, January 24, 2014 / 7:20 pm

    Thank you (and the other citizen) for doing the right thing. From one veteran to another, job well done.

  24. Steve Jones Friday, January 24, 2014 / 6:16 pm

    Sometimes thank you doesn’t even begin to address an act of valor by someone who made a decision and acted on it to place themself in harm’s way knowing the possibility exists that it may cost him his own life. How many more lives did you save can only be speculated on. But what is known is that you risked your life and stopped the threat. I, as a cititzen, thank you for what you did. I agree with all the other comments, he and the other individual deserve formal recognition.

  25. Sergeant B Earles Friday, January 24, 2014 / 8:05 am

    This man not only risked his life but did so knowing his wife could witness his death. With his Marine Corps and CDCR training, personal integrity and courage, he willfully placed himself in the line of fire of a murderer on a rampage. Thank God for men of courage and resolve such as this. He honorably represented CDCR and saved the lives of an unknown number of innocent people. As the father of an active duty Marine and nephew of a Marine that gave the ultimate sacrifice in WWII, Semper Fidelis and may God bless him and his family.

    • Sergeant A Finley Friday, January 24, 2014 / 6:31 pm

      Well said Earles. Another example of a Marine placing himself in harm’s way so that others may live. I wasn’t in the Marines; I was in the Air Force, but I worked with Marines, and have always had the deepest respect for them.

  26. Cortez, R.E. Friday, January 24, 2014 / 7:03 am

    A true “Medal of Valor” situation, and you rose to the occassion!
    Bravo Zulu Marine, Bravo Zulu.

  27. Ryan Ballein Friday, January 24, 2014 / 6:48 am

    Semper Fidelis! Once a Marine, always a Marine!

  28. Ortiz, J. Friday, January 24, 2014 / 2:43 am

    I agree with Aaron and Jim. He should be recognize and awarded from our department, from city of Fresno, and from the Governor.
    Great job and congrats to the CDCR Sergeant and also to that another civilian.

  29. Aaron Nadal Thursday, January 23, 2014 / 4:47 pm

    I feel this CDCR Sergeant should me nominated for the CDCR Medal of Valor! May GOD BLESS him for taking a proactive stance!

    • Jim Davidson Thursday, January 23, 2014 / 10:14 pm

      I agree with Aaron. The city of Fresno owes its gratitude and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and should recognize his valiant effort to save lives at the risk of his own.

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