Selma residents, saying they were brokenhearted and stunned, gathered Tuesday night at Veterans Plaza to mourn the loss of a city police officer.
The Selma Police officer was the first to die in the line of duty in a city celebrated as the Raisin Capital of the World.
"It's very shocking," said longtime resident Leslie Nelson, who quickly went on Facebook and called for residents to meet at the plaza when she heard the grim news that the officer had died.
"We will be here to welcome the officer home when he comes back from Fresno," she added.
The officer was killed after responding to a Selma home where a resident noticed the suspect in the front of the house and called police. Upon arrival, the officer found the suspect then was shot several times.
Tonya Frost also attended Tuesday's gathering.
"It just makes me want to cry," Frost said. "Our poor little town. We are going to make the national news in the worst possible way."
Added Tonya Dixon on a Facebook post: "This is so heartbreaking."
The Fresno County Sheriff's Department said a suspect in the police killing was arrested.
The sheriff's office noted that the suspect had several prior felony arrests and was known to law enforcement.
Nelson Schwamb, a resident of the city for 65 years, said the slaying of the officer was "a terrible thing for our community, our police department, and for his family."
Added his wife, Shannon Schwamb:
"It's just hard. He was going out to do a job and it's very tragic when a thing like this happened."
As events unfolded for Joe Hernandez, who has lived in Selma his entire life, it seemed Tuesday as though the terrible events he has seen unfold in other communities on national news were now happening in his town.
Hernandez said that he has two young grandsons who attend Eric White Elementary School.
On Tuesday morning, Hernandez said he was working in his yard near the school when a driver stopped in front of his house and said there might be an active shooter nearby. The driver urged Hernandez to go inside his home.
When he learned more a bit later, Hernandez quickly went to the school and confirmed that his grandsons were safe.
"Police were everywhere," he added. "I hadn't seen (anything like it) since 9-11." He added that he was on the East Coast when the two planes slammed into the Twin Towers.
"It hit me pretty hard," he added. "It's just a sign of the times.
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