Fontana man arrested after fatally shooting mom in front of girl, 12

FONTANA — An 18-year-old Fontana man is behind bars after authorities allege he fatally shot his mother with a rifle, before breaking into a pickup truck with his scoped, AR-15 rifle and waiting for officers to arrive, early Thursday morning, March 28.

When officers began arriving in the residential neighborhood, the alleged suspect aimed his weapon at them, causing at least one officer to open fire at the man; who reportedly dropped his rifle and surrendered to officials without further incident.

According to Fontana Police Officer Rich Guerrero, a 12-year-old girl was inside the home when the fatal shooting occurred, and was one of several people who called 911 to report the incident, which happened in the 14600 Block of Mountain High Dr., east of Live Oak and Cherry avenues.


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Fontana police officers were dispatched to neighborhood around 1:45 a.m., after receiving multiple reports of gunshots heard in the general area.

“While officers responded to the area, they received additional calls of shots fired in the street and a report of a male seen holding a rifle outside,” Guerrero said in a written press release.  

One of those who called 911 was a young girl who told emergency dispatchers that a member of her family had just been shot inside her home.

Fabian Cardona, 18, was arrested after allegedly shooting and killing his mother at the Fontana home where they lived. Fontana PD photo

Based on the circumstances of the call, officers from around the city – including Fontana PD’s Inland Valley SWAT officials in an armored tactical rescue vehicle – converged on the neighborhood where the gunshots were being reported.

When officers arrived in the area they spotted Fabian Dusten Cardona hiding near the passenger door of a white, Ford Ranger pickup truck.  

“Cardona was armed with a scoped AR-15 style rifle and aimed the gun in the direction of the officers,” said Guerrero. “An officer fired one round at Cardona missing him.”

After being shot at, Cardona “immediately dropped his rifle and surrendered to the officers,” according to Guerrero.

Once Cardona was in custody, officers and paramedics made entry into his home, where they found a 50-year-old woman who had been shot multiple times in the torso. She was rushed to an area hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries. The victim was later determined to be Cardona’s mother.

Officers and SWAT officials from around the city converged on the scene of Thursday morning’s fatal shooting. John Strangis/RMG News photo

As their investigation was getting underway, officers cordoned off much of the neighborhood, designating the area a crime scene. The area remained cordoned off for several hours while detectives completed their initial, on-scene Investigation.

Their investigation revealed both Cardona and his mother lived at the home together. Officials did not specify if the 12-year-old who witnessed the shooting lived at the residence; or how the girl, victim, and Cardona were related.

“The preliminary investigation suggests Cardona had shot the victim, exited the residence and banged on at least two unrelated doors of homes,” Guerrero explained.  “He then fired his rifle at an unoccupied van parked in the street.”

“Cardona then broke into a pickup truck where he appeared to be laying in wait for the officers,” Guerrero continued, saying detectives are still trying to determine a motive for the fatal shooting.

Cardona was later booked into West Valley Detention Center on suspicion of murder. Jail records indicate he remains in custody and is being held without bail.  

No officers or other citizens were injured as a result the incident and Cardona’s arrest.

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John Strangis/RMG News photos

John Strangis/RMG News video

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.