Officer Shot And Killed By Convicted Felon Out On Early Release, Police Say

(Photo by Jeff Dean / AFP) (Photo by JEFF DEAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Alyssa Blakemore Contributor
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A police officer and father-to-be was gunned down Tuesday while working patrol in a Selma, California, neighborhood.

Officer Gonzalo Carrasco Jr. was flagged down by a homeowner, who alerted him of a suspicious man on her property, according to a statement by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Carrasco exited his vehicle and tried to approach the man but was met with gunfire. The 24-year-old officer was transported to Community Regional Medical Center, transferred to surgery, and later died.

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp blamed the state’s flawed criminal justice system for Carrasco’s death, the Visalia Times Delta reported. The suspect, identified as Nathaniel Dixon by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, has previous convictions for illegal firearms possession and robbery, the outlet noted. Dixon was previously sentenced in March to five years in prison, but released only a few months later and placed on probation under California’s AB 109 law.

Carrasco’s murder marks the first line-of-duty death for the Selma Police Department which was created in 1893, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. He had been with the department less than two years and is survived by his parents, brother, sisters and girlfriend, who is expecting their child. (RELATED: ‘We Lost A Hero Today’: Police Officer Fatally Shot By Suspect With Prior History)

“California mourns the tragic loss of Selma Police Officer Carrasco, who devoted his life to protecting his community,” Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement on Carrasco’s death.

“We have two families that are suffering loss. The family of the slain officer, and the family of the shooter who will now be facing murder charges,” Smittcamp said, according to the outlet. “If the prison system did an effective job of ‘corrections and rehabilitation’ this would not be the case.”