A Fresno County Superior Court judge decided Friday that a 57-year-old man from Yokuts Valley who is accused of firing about 20 rounds at Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies in 2018 will be put on trial.
Lance Dale Legrande is charged with several counts of assault with a gun on a peace officer. Judge Gregory Fain decided there was enough proof to move forward with the criminal case against him.
On November 25, 2018, just before 10 p.m., a killing happened in Yokuts Valley, which used to be called Squaw Valley.
A call from a house in the 35000 block of George Smith Road earlier in the evening said that 15 to 20 people were drinking, doing drugs, and having sex on the property. A deputy went to check it out.
Deputy Eric Schmidt was the first person to get there. He talked to Lance Legrande, who lived in the house, about the 911 call.
Schmidt said at Legrande’s preliminary hearing on Friday that he didn’t see any signs of a party or a big group of people.
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Schmidt testified, “He [Legrande] said they were here, but when I shined my flashlight around the property, I didn’t see anyone.”
Schmidt said that Legrande looked scared, and he asked him if he’d been drinking. Schmidt said that he said he wasn’t.
The deputy told Legrande that he had looked over the house, including the roof, and didn’t find anything.
Schmidt said that Legrande called again with the same complaint a few minutes after he left the house. Schmidt told a sergeant about the first call, and the sergeant and Schmidt chose not to answer.
About half an hour later, the same house called again. Schmidt said that this time, Legrande told 911 operators that armed thieves were trying to break into his house and that he was arming himself.
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“There Were Bullets Flying Over Our Heads”
With lights and sirens, deputies came to help. When they got to the house, several cops set up around it. Schmidt said that not long after that, he heard gunfire coming from inside the house.
“I could see him (Legrande) inside walking back and forth, and then I saw a muzzle flash,” Schmidt said. “I didn’t see his gun, but I heard it go off.”
The deputies let Legrande know they were there and asked him to leave the house. Legrande’s son, who had left the house on his own, was also there.
As officers kept trying to get Legrande to come out, he pointed the barrel of a rifle out the front door.
Deputy Kinnith Wilkinson III said that when Legrande pointed the gun at the officers, Wilkinson fired two shots in his direction but missed Legrande.
Nearby, members of the Sheriff’s special weapons and tactics team were getting ready to approach the house.
Kong Xiong, one of the officers who had arrived first, told Schmidt that he needed to move his car so SWAT could get up Legrande’s driveway.
Schmidt said that as soon as Xiong turned around to go back to his truck, shots came from the house.
“Bullets were flying over our heads, and you could hear them hitting the tree,” Schmidt said. “It sounded like a very high-pitched whistle.”
Schmidt, who was armed with an AR-15 firearm, fired back a few times, focusing on where he saw the flash of the gun barrel.
During the shooting, no cops were hurt.
Legrande was caught after he tried to leave the house. He was taken to the hospital to get care for a cut that didn’t put his life in danger.
The next time he has to go to court is on June 16 in Department 31.
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