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Newsom criticizes top Fresno County prosecutor after Selma officer's death

Governor Gavin Newsom speaking behind a podium.
José Luis Villegas
California Gov. Gavin Newsom in Sacramento, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023.

FRESNO, Calif. — The shooting death of a Selma police officer triggered a war of words between Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp and California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Smittcamp placed blame on California’s prison system for allowing the accused Selma police shooter, Nathaniel Dixon, to serve less time than he was sentenced. But during a news conference announcing new state gun legislation on Wednesday, Newsom responded.

"I’m sick and tired of being lectured by her on public safety — sick and tired," Newsom said.

Dixon was supposed to serve more than five years in prison, but was released under a prison realignment law.

Smittcamp, in her public statement, said the governor and state legislators had "the blood of this officer on their hands.” Dixon is accused of shooting and killing Selma police officer Gonzalo Carrasco Jr. on Tuesday.

A governor spokesperson responded that Smittcamp chose not to charge Dixon to the full extent of the law, "which would have ensured that he spent decades in prison.”

"So with all due respect to her statement, she should be ashamed of herself and should look in the mirror," Newsom said.

Smittcamp's office did not respond KVPR's request for comment.

Soreath Hok is a multimedia journalist with experience in radio, television and digital production. She is a 2022 National Edward R. Murrow Award winner. At KVPR she covers local government, politics and other local news.