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Coarsegold man arrested in 1st Fresno Co. homicide of 2021

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Deputies say Brandon 'Milkweed' Engelman, who has associations with local white supremacist gangs, targeted and murdered 56-year-old Pacer Hampton on April 13.

Video Transcript

JESSICA HARRINGTON: A major update, Friday, to a previously unsolved murder that happened last month in Fresno County.

LISA SMITTCAMP: And we have taken a very dangerous man who was associated with the White supremacist groups of gangs here in Fresno off of the streets today.

JESSICA HARRINGTON: District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp and the Fresno County Sheriff's Office announcing the arrest of 40-year-old Brandon Engelman for the murder of 56-year-old Pacer Hampton. On April 13th, deputies found Hampton shot to death in his vehicle after it crashed into an iron fence West of Fresno near olive in Hayes Avenues. Through surveillance video, detectives identified a white Chevy Tahoe as a possible suspect vehicle. Officials say on Tuesday, they served two search warrants, one in Coursegold at Engelman's home, and another one at a home in Fresno that he frequented.

SHERIFF MARGARET MIMS: During the course of the searches, detectives recovered the Chevy Tahoe in question.

JESSICA HARRINGTON: Authorities also recovered weapons but haven't been able to determine if any of them were used in Hampton's death. The SWAT team arrested Engelman on Tuesday. Sheriff Margaret Mims says they haven't determined an exact motive for the murder but believe Hampton was specifically targeted.

SHERIFF MARGARET MIMS: They were acquainted and in fact had a long going dispute between the two of them.

JESSICA HARRINGTON: Officials say Engelman has a criminal history that includes home invasion, criminal threats, and residential burglary. During the investigation, detectives learned about another incident involving Engleman, a family member, and an acquaintance. They wouldn't elaborate but said it's why Engelman has also been charged with kidnapping, elder abuse, and domestic violence. DA Smittcamp crediting the multiple agencies that worked together to build a case leading to charges and the arrest of Engleman.

LISA SMITTCAMP: When time is of the essence, they were able to accomplish in days what would have taken months and weeks in years passed.

JESSICA HARRINGTON: Brandon Engleman was arraigned on that unrelated kidnapping charge this morning and pleaded not guilty. He is expected to be arraigned on the murder charge next Tuesday and is currently being held on more than $1 million bail. In Downtown Fresno, Jessica Harrington, ABC 30 Action News.