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Bike rider shot in Lemoore

LEMOORE — A man riding his bike early Tuesday morning in Lemoore was shot by two teenagers, police said.

At about 6 a.m., Lemoore Police officers were called to the 1300 block of Cedar Lane regarding someone who had been shot.

Upon arrival, officers said they located a 67-year-old man who had been shot in the upper arm and chest area.

As officers began rendering medical aid to the victim, they said they began interviewing him as well.

Police said the man stated he was on a bike ride in his neighborhood when he was approached by two men dressed in dark clothing.

Police said the victim said one of the suspects said something to him while he was riding his bike toward them and then stepped in his path in an attempt to get him to stop.

When the victim altered his path and rode around the men, police said the victim said one shot was fired and he felt it hit him before he rode home and called the police.

A search of the area where the victim said he was shot led officers to the discovery of a shell casing in the 1300 block of Lincoln Lane.

The victim was taken via Life Flight to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno where police said he is listed in stable condition.

Officers began looking in the area where the suspects were last seen, and officials said an officer saw two men matching the description walking into a nearby apartment complex.

Officers found one of the suspects, identified as 18-year-old Cesar Moreno-Pinon of Lemoore, and he was taken into custody without incident.

Police said the other man fled from the officers to an open field in the 1600 block of West D Street.

Additional officers responded and spotted the suspect and officers said they chased the man on foot and eventually caught him after a short time as he attempted to exit the field onto Castle Way.

Police said the man, identified as 18-year-old Jimmy Yzquierdo-Zaragoza, was also taken into custody without further incident.

Officials said Moreno-Pinon was booked into the Kings County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder, participation in a criminal street gang, conspiracy to commit murder, threatening a peace officer and public intoxication. His bail was set at $1.12 million.

Authorities said Yzquierdo-Zaragoza was booked into the Kings County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder, participation in a criminal street gang, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of burglary tools and resisting arrest. His bail was set at $1.11 million.

Police said video surveillance was also seized as evidence and assisted in this case.


Local
Kings County Government Center turns 40

HANFORD — A few weeks after his 16th birthday, Dameane Douglas said he remembered having to go to the Kings County Government Center to pay for his first speeding ticket, a memory he’ll never forget.

Tuesday he was back for a more positive reason as the representative for Assemblyman Rudy Salas at the center's 40th anniversary celebration.

“The great thing about this building is you realize it’s not just the walls, but the people inside the walls that make this a great place,” Douglas said.

“We’re all very proud of this facility,” Chairman Craig Pedersen said on behalf of the Board of Supervisors.

Pedersen said the ceremony was a way to recognize not just the Government Center, but to remember and reflect on all the past decisions that have made the county successful.

“It’s with great pride that we celebrate this today, and that in the effort of continuing to move Kings County forward, we never forget where we come from,” Pedersen said.

Supervisor Joe Neves gave the crowd a brief history of the area, saying Kings County was created in 1893 after many attempts and setbacks. He said the name of the county was taken from the Kings River, which runs through the area.

Neves said back then the newly formed Kings County had no courthouse, no offices, no stationary and no money.

“Pretty much like today,” Neves quipped, eliciting chuckles from the crowd.

Neves said the talk of a joint city-county complex started in 1952, but would take more than 20 years for the $12 million 168,664 square-foot Government Center to be opened. The center sits on 101 acres on the north side of Lacey Boulevard, as well as six acres on the south side.

“Kings County residents should be very proud of its history and present operations and future development as the site continues,” Neves said of the Government Center.

The ceremony was attended by special guests, including Justin Mendes, district director for Congressman David Valadao; Weston Anderson, representative for state Sen. Andy Vidak; and Douglas.

“I’ve been up and down the state looking at government buildings and this one is perfect,” Mendes said. “It represents the rural area that we’re in — it’s not too flashy, it’s not art deco — this is a great building. I’ve spent a lot of good times in here and I’m looking forward to the next 40 years.”

Douglas and Anderson presented a certificate of recognition from Salas and Vidak to mark the 40th anniversary of the center.

“If these walls could talk, I’m sure they would write the story book of Kings County,” Anderson said. “The future going forth looks bright.”

Capt. David James, commanding officer of Naval Air Station Lemoore, also gave a speech, saying the base has been a partner with the county since its inception in the late 1950s.

“We genuinely thank Kings County for its efforts in those days before the Government Center was built, and now, for its continued support,” James said. “I look forward to working with you for 40 or more years to come.”

The ceremony culminated with a rededication of the cornerstone of the Kings County Government Center from Mark Dawson, worshipful master of the Hanford Masonic Lodge.


California bans use of some farming pesticides near schools
California bans use of some farming pesticides near schools

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California has banned farmers from using certain pesticides near schools and day care centers under a new rule announced Tuesday that regulators said is among the toughest in the U.S.

Under the new rule, California farmers will be prohibited from spraying pesticides within a quarter mile of public K-12 schools and licensed daycare centers from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the school week, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation said in a statement.

The new regulations take effect Jan. 1 and apply to crop dusters flying over fields, air blasters spraying orchards and fumigants along with most dust and powder pesticides that could be blown onto school grounds by the wind.

"These rules will help to further protect the health of children, teachers and school staff from unintended pesticide exposure," Brian Leahy, the department's director said in the statement.

Some California counties already require buffer zones between schools and areas where pesticides are sprayed on crops.

But the new rule is the first statewide standard of its kind, the department said. It is meant to safeguard about 4,100 schools and day cares and will affect about 2,500 California farms growing everything from almonds, strawberries and grapes to produce wine, officials said. Violators will face fines up to $5,000.

Farmers will also be required to annually tell schools and county agriculture offices about the pesticides they expect to use near school buildings. School officials will have the option of deciding whether to share that information with parents.

Farmers who criticize the new rule have said they are being unfairly targeted because schools often build campuses on cheaper land outside of town centers where the farmers tilled the soil long before students arrived.

"Nobody is going to argue, we need to do whatever we can to protect our children," said Bruce Blodgett, executive director of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation. "But we need to take a step back here. It's not that the farms went to the schools, the schools were built in the farm areas. We need better guidelines about where we're building schools."

Farmers are mindful of neighboring schools and don't spray crops with pesticides when it could harm children, he said.

But officials said more than 50 people have been sickened since 2005 by pesticides that drifted onto school campuses, illustrating the need for the stricter regulations.

In the most recent incident, about two dozen students and staff at Coachella Valley High School in Riverside County reported feeling ill in October 2015 after a grower used a pesticide near the school and the wind changed direction, said Charlotte Fadipe, a pesticide department spokeswoman.

Under the rule, farmers will be limited to spraying near schools at night and on weekends, when students are usually not on campus.


Darrell Sapp 

A rabbit figure that Betty Price got on a trip to Budapest , on display in her living room.


National
AP
Texas church gunman once escaped from mental health center

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — The gunman who carried out the massacre of 26 people at a small-town Texas church briefly escaped from a mental health center in New Mexico in 2012 and got in trouble for bringing guns onto a military base and threatening his superiors there, police reports indicate.

Devin Patrick Kelley was also named as a suspect in a 2013 sexual assault in his hometown of New Braunfels, about 35 miles from the scene of the church attack.

The records that emerged Tuesday add up to at least three missed opportunities that might have offered law enforcement a way to stop Kelley from having access to guns long before he slaughtered much of the congregation in the middle of a Sunday service. Kelley died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was chased by bystanders and crashed his car.

The Air Force confirmed Tuesday that Kelley had been treated in the facility after he was placed under pretrial confinement stemming from a court-martial on charges that he assaulted his spouse and hit her child hard enough to fracture the boy's skull.

Involuntary commitment to a mental institution would have been grounds to deny him a weapon provided that records of his confinement were submitted to the federal database used to conduct background checks on people who try to purchase guns.

Kelley was also caught trying to bring guns onto Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico when he was stationed there, according to an El Paso, Texas, police report released Tuesday.

While in the military, Kelley, who was 21 at the time, had made death threats against superior officers, according to the June 2012 report, which also mentioned the military charges. He was eventually sentenced to 12 months of confinement for the assault.

The Air Force acknowledged Monday that it did not enter Kelley's criminal history into the federal database, as required by military rules.

Had Kelley been convicted of sexual assault, he would likely have been prevented from purchasing a gun because federal guidelines prohibit sales to anyone convicted of a felony punishable by more than one year in prison. The Comal County sheriff said he was reviewing whether his department mishandled the sexual assault investigation.

Officers recovered a Ruger AR-556 rifle at the church and two additional handguns from the shooter's vehicle, said Fred Milanowski, the agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Houston. All three weapons were purchased by Kelley, Milanowski said.

The sporting goods chain Academy Sports & Outdoors confirmed Monday that it sold Kelley two guns.

The El Paso report notes that Kelley was committed to a mental health facility in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, but at some point escaped and was later found by police at a bus station in downtown El Paso in June 2012.

In New Braunfels, Comal County Sheriff Mark Reynolds said that it appeared sheriff's deputies investigated the rape case for three months after being called to Kelley's home in June 2013, but stopped investigating after they believed Kelley had left Texas and moved to Colorado. Reynolds said the case was then listed as inactive.

Reynolds said he was trying to find out how deputies came to believe Kelley had moved and why they did not continue to pursue the case, either in Colorado or after Kelley returned to the area later. Deputies were called to the same house in February 2014 to investigate a domestic violence report involving Kelley and Danielle Shields, his girlfriend at the time, whom he married two months later.

"The last information that we have is the suspect moved to Colorado and then the investigation seems to have tapered off," Reynolds said Tuesday. "That's what we're looking into."

The district attorney for Comal County said in an interview that she became aware of the sexual assault case Monday before the records were released to The Associated Press and other media.

"That case was never presented to our office," Jennifer Tharp said.

Meanwhile at the First Baptist Church in tiny Sutherland Springs, investigators continued analyzing a gruesome crime scene and tried to gain access to the shooter's cellphone, a longstanding challenge for the FBI in thousands of other cases.

Authorities aimed to conclude the crime-scene investigation at the church by Wednesday evening. Investigators have no reason to believe anyone conspired with Kelley, who acted alone, said Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin.

Martin repeated earlier statements that the shooting appeared to stem from a domestic dispute involving Kelley and his mother-in-law, who sometimes attended services at the church but was not present on Sunday.

"We don't know what he was thinking or what was in his mind," Martin said. "There was conflict. He was upset with the mother in law."

Also Tuesday, authorities explained that the death toll of 26 included the unborn baby of one of women killed.