Point: by Colton Loving
Dan Andersen, 74, shot and killed his neighbor Frank Cordoza, 59, March 22, at his home near Bullard and West Fresno Street over an altercation involving Cordoza’s dog.
Andersen then drove away with a blood alcohol level of .17, according to the Fresno Bee. Andersen headed to the Macaroni Grill in the River Park area where the police arrived to apprehend him. Shortly after the police surrounded his car parked in the restaurant parking lot, Andersen shot himself.
The confrontation was an isolated incident that was handled promptly by the police, as it should have been and no one was harmed in the River Park area besides Andersen.
Of course Andersen could have escalated the situation by opening fire into the patrons of River Park but any armed person in any place could accomplish this and unless the security levels at River Park are raised to airport standards there is very little that can be done to prevent it.
There is not a history of violent crime in River Park and this incident does not reflect the quality of security throughout River Park’s establishment.
The River Park Shopping Center is not responsible for protecting its patrons from armed criminals; that duty falls solely to the police. River Park and its employees should be responsible for alerting the police to a crime and nothing more, just like any other establishment or citizen.
The security force of the River Park area is more than adequate for serving the purpose for which they were hired: upholding the rules set forth by River Park. They aren’t any kind of governing body or official law enforcement and do not have a right to detain or apprehend anyone.
A security camera system was installed in 2011 in the area for the purpose of detecting theft and preventing crime which fulfills the safety needs of River Park shoppers.
Increasing the security in the River Park area is not only unnecessary and a waste of the time and money it would require, it is not the place of the security staff to enforce the law any more than they already do. Security cameras, guards, and the quick response of the police are enough to protect the visitors of River Park.
Counterpoint: by Han Wang
Within shooting range of diners at the Macaroni Grill, alleged murder suspect Dan Andersen took his own life. The police tracked him down from the scene of the crime to the River Park mall, where he was denied service at Chevy’s before killing himself near the Macaroni Grill.
Stricter security regulations could hamper business, but River Park must handle these situations better. Great personal loss occurred that day but so much worse might have occured. The presence of a trusted regular permitted to carry a gun is no reason for alarm. But a man, covered in blood, who just shot someone, is not in his right state of mind.
He shouldn’t have been simply denied service and given a window of time before the police arrived. Why wasn’t he respectfully but cautiously detained by River Park security until police arrested him? River Park is legally obligated to call the police in this situation, but more needs to be required, especially from a property that prides itself as a top destination in Fresno.
River Park security is not a group of private citizens who might recklessly endanger themselves by trying to apprehend a suspect. River Park security needs to be bumped up a notch and become formidable enough to buy valuable time for the police. Fortunately, the suspect circled the parking lot instead of taking off, and the police responded promptly.
Delaying law enforcement leads to preventable crimes. Although recent renovations added security cameras to the property, more must be done to deter crimes, especially violent ones. When danger lurks standard operating procedure must require all businesses to be alerted to the threat and properly inform their customers. Mandatory lockdowns are too extreme, but businesses should be required to inform customers of potential danger.
The fact that the River Park population was caught unaware by a threat in its vicinity is disturbing. Keeping shoppers uninformed did not aid the police operation. Informing them was not even considered.
Perhaps shoppers were never in danger, but they were confused or uninformed because of how poorly River Park handled the situation.