TWO SEN­TENCED FOR 2013 AT­TACK

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY LEWIS GRIS­WOLD lgris­wold@fres­nobee.com Lewis Gris­wold: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGris­wold

Two of four men who as­saulted and shot an Edi­son High teacher re­ceive lengthy prison sen­tences af­ter vic­tim speaks up.

Two of the four young men who as­saulted and shot an Edi­son High teacher in a class­room nearly five years ago were sen­tenced Fri­day to lengthy terms in state prison.

All four were 16 or 17 years old when they at­tacked teacher Steven Guer­rero on the evening of Dec. 19, 2013, hit­ting him in the head with a weight and shoot­ing him twice be­fore he wres­tled the gun away from the shooter.

The youths were mem­bers of the Brown Kings Norteno street gang, a pros­e­cu­tor said later.

They ran away from the crime scene, but po­lice tracked them down five days later and ar­rested them. All four were pros­e­cuted as adults and they turned 21 be­hind bars at the Fresno County Jail.

Judge Michael Idi­art sen­tenced Jose Al­fredo Zinzun Jr., 21, to 11 years and four months in state prison as part of a deal be­tween Zinzun’s lawyer, Ger­ald Sch­wab, and the Fresno County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice in ex­change for Zinzun plead­ing no con­test last month to at­tempted rob­bery us­ing a gun.

Sch­wab said his client was the least cul­pa­ble of the four de­fen­dants be­cause Zinzun did not en­ter the class­room where the at­tack oc­curred, didn’t hold a weapon and con­fessed early.

In hand­ing down the sen­tence, Idi­art said Zinzun could have got­ten as much as 13 years and 8 months in state prison. “It’s a fair sen­tence,” the judge said.

Zinzun will get credit for ap­prox­i­mately five years in jail to date but must serve 85 per­cent of his sen­tence. He must also pay a $1,000 fine and put $3,549 into a vic­tim’s com­pen­sa­tion fund.

In a hushed court­room, the vic­tim read a state­ment that he was shot twice and suf­fered a blow to the head.

“I thought it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore I died,” Guer­rero said.

“As a re­sult of these crimes, I’ve been di­ag­nosed with PTSD and I still suf­fer from episodes of PTSD to­day,” he said. “This in­ci­dent has in­flicted on me so much men­tal and phys­i­cal suf­fer­ing.” He has re­turned to work, likes help­ing young peo­ple learn about sports medicine and al­ways tries to be a role model, but he’s fre­quently hy­per­sen­si­tive and hy­per-vig­i­lant, he said.

“I have not been able to fully re­cover from all my in­juries,” Guer­rero said. “It’s men­tally wear­ing on me like a ton of bricks.”

The in­ci­dent slowed down his ca­reer, he said.

The judge ex­pressed sym­pa­thy.

“No in­di­vid­ual, par­tic­u­larly a teacher, should have to deal with that sit­u­a­tion,” Idi­art said.

The judge also handed down a sen­tence for Ni­cholas Padilla, 21, of 13 years in prison. He must serve 85 per­cent of the sen­tence but gets credit for time in jail. Like Zinzun, Padilla must pay a fine and put money into a vic­tim’s com­pen­sa­tion fund.

Idi­art told both young men to “re­flect” on what hap­pened while in prison and to take ad­van­tage of ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams in prison.

Sen­tenc­ings for fel­low de­fen­dants Jaime Gon­za­lez, 22, and Gil­berto Ramos, 21, are sched­uled for Nov. 16.

Ac­cord­ing to a Fresno Bee news ar­ti­cle at the time, Guer­rero, then age 30, was pack­ing up to head home on a Thurs­day night when he saw four young men — two of them armed — stand­ing in his class­room’s door­way. He had just been hired that year by Edi­son High. He be­gan work­ing for Fresno Uni­fied in 2009 as a sub­sti­tute teacher.

One of the sus­pects asked, “Do you want to get shot?” and then took out a hand­gun. Guer­rero’s first re­ac­tion was to let the young men take the lap­top com­puter they had come to steal, and to let them leave.

Guer­rero told po­lice he backed away, al­low­ing one of the sus­pects to grab the lap­top. The sus­pect turned to leave, but not be­fore an­other sus­pect swung a 25-pound weight that struck Guer­rero in the head.

Even though he was dazed by the blow, Guer­rero de­cided to fight back. He knocked the hand­gun and lap­top out of the sus­pect’s hands and they strug­gled to grab the gun, but the sus­pect got to it first.

“The hand­gun was dis­charged six times. Two of those rounds struck the vic­tim,” Deputy Po­lice Chief Pat Farmer told re­porters.

Guer­rero, shot in his stom­ach and right leg, even­tu­ally over­pow­ered the sus­pect, who fled with the oth­ers. The hand­gun and the lap­top were re­cov­ered at the school.

MARK CROSSE Fresno Bee File photo

Fresno po­lice in­ves­ti­gate a shoot­ing at Edi­son High in De­cem­ber 2013 af­ter teacher Steven Guer­rero was shot in a rob­bery at­tempt by sev­eral teenagers.

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