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A nine-hour standoff in Central Fresno is finally over; the suspect found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The stand-off began around 3 a.m. Thursday at an apartment four-plex along the 3700 Block of Clay Avenue, where police believed a Sacramento murder suspect was located.
According to police, 28-year-old Ma Phompong, had been involved in a home invasion Wednesday night in Sacramento. Officers say he killed a 61-year-old woman, and severely beat her 59-year-old husband. Phompong is said to have stolen several firearms from the residence, along with a Toyota Tundra truck before fleeing. Police say the Phompong was an acquaintance of the couple.
Sacramento Police alerted Fresno Police that Phompong could be headed towards the Fresno area. Around 12:15 a.m. on Thursday, Fresno Police spotted the stolen truck near the intersection of Olive and Tyler.
By 3 a.m. police had surrounded the four-plex on Clay, where they believed Phompong was hiding. The apartment complex, along with nearby homes were evacuated.
Three of the evacuees had been inside the apartment with Phompong. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer has confirmed that one of them was Phompong's cousin. Dyer says Phompong may have chosen to flee to Fresno due to the family connection.
Fresno Police crisis negotiators, along with SWAT officers, and the Sacramento Police spent several hours attempting to make contact with Phompong. They deployed two flash bangs, and tried calling the apartment's phone line. No communication was ever made though, and officers decided to send in a robot.
The robot, equipped with a camera, detonated tear gas three times. The robot then made its way into the bedroom where it located what looked to be Phompong's feet. Officers then entered the apartment where they found Phompong dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Police believe Phompong killed himself with one of the firearms stolen in the Sacramento home invasion.
"Although we were not able to take the suspect into custody alive, he made the decision to take his own life," Dyer said in an afternoon news conference.
Dyer acknowledged that while there has been no formal identification of Phompong, including fingerprints, "We have every reason to believe that this is the individual that killed himself," Dyer said. According to Dyer, Phompong had other distinguishing characteristics.
The stand-off required the closure of several streets in the area, including Olive to Tyler and Millbrook to Cedar. Police say that no schools in the area were impacted by the situation, and no residents were put at-risk. "We did everything we could in terms of exercising precautions to make sure this operation was done extremely safely," Dyer said.
This was not Phompong's first run-in with the law. Back in 1998 he was involved in another home invasion in the Modesto area, in which the homeowner was stabbed to death. Phompong pleaded to a lesser charge of assault with a deadly weapon, and was currently out on parole. Phompong was also a registered sex offender.