A tragic turn of events claimed the life of former Oakdale Police Chief Marty West on Monday, Nov. 12 – shot and killed by Fresno police officers outside his home.
West, 63, served in Oakdale for several years before retiring in 2012 and returning to Fresno.
Authorities released the identity of West on Monday afternoon and reported that the incident occurred near Woodward Park in Fresno about 11:30 a.m. Monday.
Reports indicated police received a call of a suicidal man at the location and found a pool of blood near the front door. It was then that West came at officers armed with a 12-inch knife, said police, and though a Taser was initially utilized it had little impact and officers fired on West. Authorities indicated the blood was from a self-inflicted wound on West’s neck and added he had been dealing with mental health issues in recent months.
“It’s just tragic, I don’t have any insight into how this could happen, it’s just unfathomable,” said retired Oakdale Police Chief Lester Jenkins, who was a lieutenant and served as second in command during West’s tenure. “I haven’t talked to him in four, five years, didn’t keep in contact but I hoped he was doing well and enjoying retirement.”
West served under two mayors, Farrell Jackson and current mayor Pat Paul. Jenkins – who took over as chief in 2012 when West retired and held that post until his own retirement in July 2016 – said West served during a difficult time.
“The recession hit, there were layoffs, a lot of friction going on, it’s tough to lay off people,” Jenkins noted. “That made his tenure much tougher than the average chief. But he was positive, upbeat, he treated me well and I just remember him smiling most of the time, trying to be positive.”
West had served as a captain with the Fresno Police Department before becoming chief in Oakdale. He had spent more than 30 years with Fresno before leaving in 2007 to accept the chief’s position here.