The Tuesday murder of Selma Police Officer Gonzalo Carrasco Jr. is reverberating across the Golden State as the area’s top law enforcement official and Gov. Gavin Newsom have begun a high-profile round of assigning blame for the incident.
Following his death, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp laid the blame at the feet of Gov. Gavin Newsom and various state laws in a lengthy statement.
The backstory: Carrasco, 24, had been a member of the Selma Police Department for two years before he was killed by 23-year-old convicted felon Nathaniel Dixon. He was on patrol and exited his vehicle to investigate a suspicious person when Dixon shot him multiple times.
- Carrasco was transported to Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno, where he died.
- Carrasco was an expectant father, Smittcamp revealed in her statement.
- Dixon had previously been arrested for several felony offenses and prosecuted for charges related to robbery, weapons and drugs. He is an admitted gang member who was sentenced to five years and four months in prison in March 2022.
- Dixon was released last September due to state laws that grant additional credits for time served in local jail and other accelerated time credits.
Smittcamp’s response: “Today, Governor Gavin Newsom, and every legislator in the state of California who supports this over-reaching phenomenon they try to disguise as legitimate criminal justice reform, has the blood of this officer on their hands,” Smittcamp said.
- Smittcamp said Newsom and the state legislature have created a warped system that allows active and violent criminals to be released from prison early. She said the criminals are empowered to continue and intensify their violent behaviors when they are released because they have not had to face enough consequences or treatment.
- “The Governor and his political allies who continue the quest to close state prisons are increasing the incidents of violence to everyone who lives in, or visits, the state of California,” Smittcamp said. “No city or county is safe from the wrath of this misguided thinking, and this mismanaged prison system.”
First, a mild memorial for Carrasco: Newsom ordered the flags at the State Capitol and Capitol Annex Swing Space to be flown at half-staff Wednesday to honor Carrasco.
- “Jennifer and I join all the family, friends and colleagues mourning the tragic loss of Officer Carrasco, who devoted his life to protecting his community,” Newsom said. “His tremendous bravery, dedication and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
Then, the other side: During a Wednesday morning press conference to promote a newly-developed bill to restrict concealed carry gun rights in the Golden State, Newsom was probed about Smittcamp’s statement from Nexstar reporter Eytan Wallace. He fired back with a heated retort, casting blame for the shooting on the Fresno County prosecutor: