Nov 15, 2019
Collegian File Photo

Gang member enters ‘not guilty’ plea in alleged murder of engineering student

Kenneth Lee, 20, an alleged Fresno gang member, pleaded not guilty in Fresno Superior Court on Thursday in the 2016 killing of Fresno State engineering student Barket Shita, 25, of Fresno. Lee was arrested on June 6 following a 19-month investigation by Fresno police.

According to police, Shita had just left work at the California Department of Transportation office at Manchester Mall shortly before 2 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2016. He evidently was confronted by three alleged gang members at a Shell service station at Blackstone and Dakota avenues, according to police.

Shita then drove to a Jiffy Lube a block away, at Blackstone and Saginaw, where shots were fired into his car, fatally wounding him. He then drove north in the southbound lanes of Blackstone before crashing head-on into another vehicle at Griffith Way. He was found dead in the wreckage by Fresno police officers responding to the report of a car crash.

Police say Lee and 18-year-old Devon Fisher were identified as two of the three people who allegedly shot Shita. Lee was arrested by Fresno police on June 6, and Fisher turned himself in a few days later.

Shita was an Ethiopian immigrant who left behind a fiance and two sons.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer described Shita as an innocent “who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

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