Aug 05, 2020

Student held in shooting death

Walking toward University Village, Fresno State student Evan Young passes by SWAT team members heading out after a shooting incident late Monday.
Juan Villa / The Collegian

A 19-year-old Fresno State freshman was arrested late Tuesday morning and is being held on $3 million bail in connection with the deadly shooting of one former student and for wounding two other people at University Village.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said it’s believed the shooting was the result of a confrontation over a video game.

Dyer said, “It’s sad to say that all of this erupted over some type of dispute over a PlayStation.”

Jonquel Brooks was arrested at approximately 11:30 a.m. Tuesday near Peach and Olive avenues in southeast Fresno. He was arrested on suspicion of murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Dyer said, “He did express remorse for the shooting” and at times appeared to be calm.

Dyer said officers responded to a 911 call about a shooting at approximately 11:15 p.m. Monday. They arrived at 11:18 p.m. to “mass pandemonium that was occurring” at University Village, with people running and pointing in different directions.

The deceased victim was identified around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday as former Fresno State student Brant Daniels, 19, of Los Angeles.

Daniels was not enrolled as a student this semester but was enrolled last fall.

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Narvin Barring, a sophomore health science major, said he was a friend of Daniels. Barring said he met Daniels at a basketball tournament and then again at the Student Recreation Center, where they often played basketball.

“We weren’t sure if it was him at first,” Barring said. He said a friend contacted him around 8 a.m. and that he and his brother then called another friend to confirm the news. As of Tuesday morning, Barring said he was trying to contact friends of Daniels’ family.

Barring said Daniels was “just the kind of guy who would make you laugh all the time.”

Dyer said the shooting was a single, isolated incident where the victims and the shooter knew each other.

Brooks and four other people were in Brooks’ apartment at University Village when the dispute erupted. Brooks took out a handgun and fired repeatedly in his apartment in the direction of the four people; some shooting may have carried over into the hallway.
Dyer added that it appeared Daniels ran into his apartment, collapsed and was later pronounced dead. The two who were wounded also lived in the complex and were found in other apartments.

The two victims who survived are Fresno State student Roderick Boycks, 19, and 22-year-old Drew Pfeiff, who is a pending student. Both sustained moderate, non-life threatening injuries and were released from the hospital Tuesday morning.

At approximately 4 a.m., a call from Brooks’ mother was made to Fresno police and three-way communication was established among Brooks, the police and Brooks’ mother “for the purpose of trying to negotiate a peaceful surrender,” Dyer said.

Brooks agreed to turn himself in at 9 a.m. after negotiations with law enforcement but failed to do so.

Dyer said Brooks’ father drove from Hayward to Fresno and was in communication with law enforcement and Brooks. As part of the agreement with police, Brooks asked that his father be present at police headquarters when he was supposed to turn himself in.

At Tuesday’s 9:30 a.m. press conference with the Fresno Police Department, Dyer addressed the concern of Brooks’ not turning himself in at the negotiated time. He said if the suspect was listening to the conference, he would say, “I would tell Jonquel that he is in very serious trouble, that he is wanted for murder, as well as assault with a deadly weapon on two other individuals, that we take that very seriously. We know that he is armed and he is a threat to society, and that he needs to surrender as soon as he possibly can, whether that be with or without his attorney.”

Earlier reports indicated that Brooks is a criminology major. However, according to criminology department chair Dr. Steven Walker, Brooks is an undeclared major who has never taken any criminology courses. Dyer said there was no record that Brooks had a criminal background.

At first, law enforcement had “strong indications” that the shooter was in University Village and a lengthy search was conducted.

Dyer said the SWAT team investigated every room in the apartment complex, but after four and a half hours, police realized he may have escaped.

Dyer said in an attempt to avoid being recognized by law enforcement, Brooks “altered his appearance significantly” by shaving his head and changing his clothes.

A voluntary evacuation from the complex occurred early Tuesday morning and not all of the residents were forced to leave.
University Village is a three-story complex consisting of 108 four-room pods.

“I want to thank the Fresno Police Department and the officers involved,” Fresno State President John Welty said at Tuesday afternoon’s press conference held at Fresno Police headquarters. “I’m very grateful for the police department’s response.”

Dyer said law enforcement had no indication that Brooks was ever at the university after the shooting and posed no threat to any student on campus.

Welty said he arrived at campus police headquarters around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, and added that the shooting suspect posed “no danger to individuals on campus,” which was why the university made the decision to keep the campus open.

Barstow Avenue was closed at Cedar Avenue and opened up around 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Another shooting occurred near the same location on the second day of classes in fall 2006 when a suspected bank robber opened fire while driving through the campus on Barstow Avenue. One officer was shot, but no students were injured by the gunfire.

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