Suspect in Winton Park shooting found

The suspect behind the murder of a custodian caretaker in Winton Park has been apprehended in Missouri with his extradition underway

handcuffs on the prisoner. Making an arrest. Remand in custody
Mid Valley Times Staff
Published November 13, 2023  • 
11:00 am

FRESNO COUNTY – The man suspected for the murder of James Buford of Sanger, which happened in July, has been found in a state halfway across the nation.

Michael Brandon Kent of Fresno, the suspect who was apprehended in Missouri for the murder of James Buford of Sanger. (Contributed by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.)

On Nov. 2, law enforcement in Camden County, Mo. arrested Michael Brandon Kent, 40, of Fresno. He was taken into custody without incident. The extradition process is now underway to have Kent transported to Fresno County to face a murder charge.

Earlier that week, homicide detectives with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office asked for the public’s help in locating Kent, who also goes by the nickname of Gage. Detectives had already secured an arrest warrant for Kent committing a homicide.

During the week, the sheriff’s office received information of Kent possibly being in Missouri. Detectives coordinated with the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force to try and locate Kent. On Nov. 2, they found him in the city of Camdenton, Mo.

Kent’s crime took place around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19, when a utility worker called law enforcement after finding an injured person, later identified as James Buford, 69, of Sanger near Piedra and Elwood Roads, which is in the area of Winton Park. EMS, Cal Fire and deputies arrived and found the man, along Piedra Road, outside of the park. EMS transported him to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno where he later died.

Buford was contracted by Fresno County to work as a camp host. This means he was a custodian caretaker hired to provide on-site security for Winton Park. The county has a total of 13 such workers who provide this type of service at seven different county parks.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Homicide Unit worked relentlessly since the night of the shooting to identify the suspect responsible. Their great police work has now paid off by taking a dangerous person off the streets and beginning the process of delivering justice to the Buford family.

Anyone with additional information in this case is asked to please contact Detective Rudy Tafoya at 559-600-8207, or Crime Stoppers at 559-498-7867, You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Mid Valley Times Staff