Fresno County sheriff’s deputy Joel Wahlenmaier (49) was killed in a shooting Thursday morning in rural Fresno County. A second sheriff’s deputy was wounded by shrapnel and a Reedley police officer remains on life support . The incident began around 9:40 a.m. February 25, at a mobile home set on 20 acres in the town of Minkler. Officers were assisting Cal Fire in serving an arrest warrant connected to investigations into a recent series of reported arsons and shooting incidents.
After attempting to make contact and ordering occupants out of the residence with no response, officers broke down the door. Upon entry the suspect opened fire. Deputy Wahlenmaier was reportedly struck in the side. Deputy Mark Harris (48) took shrapnel to the head/eye area. The suspect then barricaded himself inside the home and continued shooting as additional officers arrived to assist. Shortly after police set up a perimeter, Reedley Police Officer Javier Bejar (28) was hit in a subsequent exchange of gunfire.
The body of the suspect, Ricky Liles (51), was found at approximately 5 p.m. inside the mobile home. A woman believed to be Liles’ wife had emerged from the home about an hour earlier.
Deputy Wahlenmaier leaves behind his wife, Bev, daughter, Amy 24, son Austin 21, and his parents, all of Fresno.