Fashion Fair Mall stabbing suspect arrested, Chief of Police proposes banning gang members

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — The man accused of stabbing a teen boy at Fresno’s Fashion Fair Mall over the weekend has been identified.

Police say he’s a known gang member currently on probation.

Now, Fresno’s Chief of Police says the department is taking action to make sure shoppers are comfortable.

“We want people to feel safe — it’s the perception of fear that is hurting us right now,” said Chief Paco Balderrama.

Mayor Jerry Dyer called for change alongside Chief Balderrama following a stabbing at Fashion Fair Mall over the weekend.

“No person, regardless of where they’re shopping, should have to shop in fear,” said Mayor Dyer.

Saturday evening, a large fight left a teenage boy with a stab wound to his armpit and another with a concussion after being hit with an unknown object.

The suspect, now identified as 27-year-old Prophet Hillard, has been arrested.

Police say he’s a known gang member on formal probation for a previous felony assault.

Monday, Chief Balderrama said he would like to see policies in place that would prevent known gang members from visiting the shopping center.

“I happen to believe that if you’re a known gang member and you’re simply there to cause problems, that you shouldn’t be let into the mall,” said Chief Balderrama.

Mayor Jerry Dyer says the city discussed implementing that sort of policy at the Big Fresno Fair in the past and talked about what needs to be considered before such a policy is implemented.

“Number one, how do you know they’re a gang member? Number two, are tattoos and clothing going to be taken into account?” said Dyer.

He says whatever criteria are created, it needs to be enforced consistently and that responsibility would fall on the Fashion Fair Mall.

Chief Balderrama said the department also wants to increase the police presence at the mall through contracted police officers, officers paid for by the mall to police the shopping center during peak hours and on weekends.

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“The purpose of contract policing is to reduce our calls for service and to make sure there’s a police presence in high profile areas like Fashion Fair Mall.”

Currently, Fashion Fair Mall pays for two contracted officers from the City of Fresno.

Saturday, when the stabbing happened, Chief Balderrama said that contract was not able to be filled, but there was one contracted officer working and an extra officer providing support.

Mayor Jerry Dyer says, in the past, Fashion Fair Mall has asked for more contract officers, but because of staffing shortages, the department was unable to fulfill the request.

Chief Balderrama says he’s going to ask the mall to contract three officers moving forward and the department will make it a priority to fill those positions.

“I’m confident that we’re going to get a better plan put together and that we’re going to get their cooperation,” Chief Balderrama said.

Balderrama said he had a conversation with mall management Monday morning and has another meeting scheduled with them and corporate businesses that are at the mall on Thursday to discuss future changes.

Hillard, the man arrested, has been booked into the Fresno County Jail and is being held on $75,000 bail.

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