Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier Fresno County, California

Deputy Sheriff Joel Wahlenmaier
Fresno County Sheriff’s Department

End of Watch: Thursday, February 25, 2010

Biographical Info
Age: 48
Tour of Duty: 12 years
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Thursday, February 25, 2010
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Deceased

Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier was shot and killed as he and another deputy assisted officers from the California Fire Marshals Office serve a warrant on a suspected arsonist in Minkler, California.

As the deputies and officers entered the suspect’s mobile home the man opened fire on them, fatally wounding Deputy Wahlenmaier and wounding a second deputy. A responding officer from the Reedley Police Department was also shot and critically wounded.

The suspect was found dead inside the home after a standoff that lasted several hours.

Deputy Wahlenmaier had served with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department for 12 years. He is survived by his wife, son, daughter, and parents.

Agency Contact Information
Fresno County Sheriff’s Department
PO Box 1788
2200 Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93717

Phone: (559) 488-3121

Please contact the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.

Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier Killed In Fresno County

49-year-old Sheriff Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier has been confirmed by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department to be the victim in the shooting.

The ordeal began just before 10 a.m. in the community of Minkler, just east of Sanger. That’s when Wahlenmaier and another deputy, 48-year-old Mark Harris, were helping to serve a warrant at a mobile home, when the person inside did not allow them to enter-so they forced themselves in.

Witnesses say they heard hundreds of shots and both deputies were hit–Wahlenmaier fatally.

Wahlenmaier was hired with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department back in 1998, and was  working as a detective investigating homicides and other violent crimes. He leaves behind a wife, and two adult children.

Harris was wounded in the shooting, but later treated and released from CRMC.

A responding officer with the Reedley Police Department was also injured in the gunfire. Officer Javier Bejar was shot and remains on life support at Community Regional Medical Center. Bejar has been with the Reedley Police Department for two years, and is a marine veteran.

CBS (AP)  FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – The sheriff’s homicide detective killed in a shootout while serving a search warrant at a mobile home was identified Friday as a 12-year veteran of the department and the father of two children.

Joel Wahlenmaier, 49, who is married, was with another deputy and a fire department arson investigator when the suspect in their case opened fire Thursday from his mobile home 25 miles west of Fresno, Sheriff Margaret Mims said.

The suspect, who has not been identified, also was killed.

Police Officer Javier Bejar was critically wounded when he arrived for backup. Authorities said he’s not expected to recover.

Deputy Mark Harris was wounded and is recovering, Mims said.

The incident began when the gunman opened fire on authorities who tried to serve search the warrants in Central California then barricaded himself in the mobile home during a raging gunbattle.

Police were trying to determine how the routine serving of a search warrant turned into a deadly daylong standoff.

It was not immediately clear if the gunman’s injuries were self-inflicted or suffered during the barrage of bullets he exchanged with officers, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.

Reedley City Manager Rocky Rogers said Bejar, who had two years on the police force, was being kept alive so his family can pay their last respects.

“He had a very commanding presence about him, being a former U.S. Marine,” Rogers said.

Police used a robot equipped with cameras to confirm the suspect’s death following the tense, daylong standoff outside the home in Minkler, a tiny village in a rural section of the San Joaquin Valley.

About an hour before the robot was sent in, a woman who was inside the home voluntarily came out with a dog spattered in blood. Her relationship to the gunman was not immediately known and detectives were interviewing her.

The bloodshed started just before 10 a.m. when two deputies and a state fire official arrived at the mobile home to serve the warrants connected to a series of arsons and a Tuesday shooting allegedly involving the gunman, Mims said.

Mims said the shooter was suspected in a recent series of suspicious fires involving sheds and other outbuildings and of randomly firing a weapon from his home on Tuesday.

Novack said authorities used a loudspeaker to repeatedly order someone inside the mobile home to surrender. At some point, they smashed down the door and went inside.

Novack said a man and a woman lived in the mobile home located on sprawling rural property owned by another family in Minkler. They sometimes came to her store for cigarettes and soda, but Novack said she did not know their names.

The community of 30 people is located along the scenic highway to Kings Canyon National Park.



2 Responses to “Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier Fresno County, California”

  1. 1 Ralph Gillett March 2, 2010 at 18:38

    It saddens me when good honest police are killed by bastards
    that goodness it`s not so bad in qld australia
    However it seems to be growing like a rash through the general public
    I only hope the close relatives of the fallen police are looked after

  1. 1 Police Officer Javier Bejar Reedley Police Department California « The Munz ~~ Remembering the fallen Trackback on March 2, 2010 at 08:29

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