Four Fontana Police Department employees were honored recently for their efforts to arrest a suspect who allegedly shot a woman during an incident in Fontana last year.
Corporal Travis Burnside and Officers Michael Bernath, Hector Quinones and Evan Fraser were named the P.D.'s Employees of the Month for November of 2019.
The incident took place on Oct. 26, when Fontana P.D. Dispatch received numerous calls of shots being fired in the area of Palmetto and Hawthorne avenues. There were multiple residents in the area calling 911 describing multiple suspects shooting from a vehicle.
Several officers responded to the area as dispatchers relayed that a victim had been shot and she was parked on Hawthorne, east of Palmetto. The caller informed dispatchers that her friend was in the back seat of her car, bleeding badly, and needed officers along with paramedics.
Several officers arrived on scene and immediately began to render medical aid to the victim, who had been shot in the chest and left hand.
Along with providing immediate medical aid to a badly injured victim, the officers began to gather critical information from the victims about the suspects.
Burnside quickly directed officers to begin identifying the multiple crime scenes, gathering potential suspect information, locating witnesses and gathering evidence.
Burnside stayed in constant contact with Bernath, Quinones and Fraser. Crucial information was discovered from their interviews and a potential suspect was identified.
Officers discovered the suspect was at a party with the victims a short distance away and was asked to leave as he was trying to enter the party with a concealed gun on his person.
Quinones and Fraser began utilizing various department resources with the expectation of identifying the possible suspect, and they were assisted by Bernath.
Based on all of the leads developed from their investigation, a gang member was positively identified as the shooter in this case.
Burnside, along with the three officers, quickly identified possible residences in the city that the suspect has been known to frequent. Bernath volunteered to set up a surveillance on one of the locations, along with Burnside.
Detectives were ultimately called in to take over the investigation and were briefed by Burnside. Detectives continued the surveillance after the officers went home after working all night.
About 12 hours after the shooting, the suspect left the location, a traffic stop was conducted, and two handguns were found hidden in the vehicle.
"Without the leadership of Corporal Burnside and the investigative skills, teamwork, willingness to apprehend the suspect by these officers, this shooting investigation could have gone as an unsolved attempted homicide," said Fontana Police Chief Billy Green. "These Fontana officers went over and above when they had the opportunity, in order to protect the Fontana community they serve and take pride in. There were other officers who assisted with this investigation; however, these officers stood out. As a result of their investigation, the suspect is still in custody for numerous felonies and a violent gang member is no longer a danger to the Fontana community."