Sisters Remember Man Shot and Killed by Police in Northwest Fresno: Seeking Answers and Justice

On Monday, the family of the man shot and killed by Fresno police following a welfare check talked to Action News.

Family members had already identified him as Max Sosa Jr., 33, and Fresno Police verified his identification on Monday.

Sosa’s sisters wanted to talk to Action News anonymously because they were distressed by their brother’s abrupt death.

“I just had no idea that hug he gave me hours before would be the last one,” Sosa’s older sister stated.

She goes on to say that her brother was always there for his family.

Sosa, she claims, turned up at her son’s football game only hours before his death to encourage him on.

Sosa’s younger sister describes him as a dedicated worker who supported her and always knew what to say.

“He was a happy person,” she described him. “Max was everything. He was kind and compassionate. He was the glue that held the entire family together. “I’m sure every friend and family member can say that.”

Sosa graduated from Sanger High School and Universal Technical Institute in Sacramento, and according to his sisters, he had two little children, ages two and four.

He was shot and died early Saturday morning in Northwest Fresno after responding to a welfare call at the Dante Apartments on Dante and Cornelia Avenues.

According to Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama, about 3:30 a.m., a lady contacted police to report that her estranged boyfriend was making suicide threats. According to Sosa’s relatives, the woman was his wife.

The two were alone in the flat when the call came in, and Sosa was in a car when police arrived.

Balderrama said he drove towards the cops, resulting in a pursuit.

Officers called off the pursuit, and at 5 a.m., officers were able to re-contact Sosa at the complex.

According to the chief, Sosa then charged at cops while holding what appeared to be scissors.

Officers used tasers on him just seconds before firing at him.

“Three of the officers discharged their weapons striking the suspect and sadly he was pronounced deceased,” Balderrama said.

Kevin Little, who is representing Sosa’s family, stated that Sosa had no criminal past or mental health difficulties.

Little is sceptical about the police narrative.

“For you to utilise a taser the person is required to be at least 15 feet away from you and perhaps no more than I think 30, 35 feet,” he continued. “So, what that tells me is immediately this was not someone who was not right in their face with the scissors.”

Sosa was inebriated and agitated, according to Balderrama, and made suicide threats to take his life.

A mental health physician was not accessible, according to police, during the incident.

According to the chief, after reviewing the body camera evidence, he feels the shot was justified. Little wishes he could watch the footage for himself.

“We just hope that at a later date we don’t have to have presentations like this where we’re talking about somebody not getting the help that they needed and rather getting shot by law enforcement,” he added.

All three policemen involved are on paid administrative leave at the moment.


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