A 25-year-old man was shot and killed by Avenal police officers following a fight in which he swung a metal rod that struck and injured two officers, the police chief said.
The shooting occurred about 7 p.m. Wednesday during a child-custody dispute.
Sergio Velasco, 25, had taken his child from his wife’s home without her permission, said Avenal police Chief Rusty Stivers.
Officers went to Velasco’s apartment in the 600 block of Fifth Street to retrieve the child, who is supposed to be in his mother’s custody under a court order, Stivers said.
A fight broke out as police began talking to Velasco, who had armed himself with a long metal rod, Stivers said.
During the scuffle, officers wrestled Velasco to the ground and deployed their electronic stun guns, he said.
“It was ineffective, then the suspect got up and started striking an officer with the rod,” Stivers said.
The officer was struck in the jaw and retreated as the other officer moved closer and was attacked.
As Velasco struck the second officer, the first officer fired his service weapon to protect his partner, Stivers said.
Velasco died at the scene. He had no criminal record as far as police know, Stivers said.
Both officers were taken to a local hospital with abrasions and blunt-force trauma, and officers’ body cameras captured the fight and shooting, he said.
One officer was a 25-year veteran and the other has been on the force for three years, said Stivers, who didn’t name them.
Both officers were placed on paid administrative leave. A Hanford Police Department critical incident team is investigating the shooting, Stivers said.