A Kingsburg woman says her brother, Anthony Trujillo, 27, was suffering a manic episode from his schizophrenia when he was fatally shot by Tulare County Sheriff's deputies in Orosi.
A sheriff's deputy was also shot in hand during Thursday's encounter in a situation described as "friendly fire" by Sheriff Mike Boudreaux at a news conference Friday. The deputy's wounds were non life-threatening.
The situation started Thursday when family members called the sheriff's department and reported Trujillo was acting erratically. Officers arrived to the 12000 block of Dennison Avenue and Road 124 around 4 p.m. and found Trujillo wielding a machete-style knife and raising it above his head.
Trujillo struck the top of a doorway with the weapon before hitting a deputy on the left side of his head causing “a deep laceration," Boudreaux said.
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“A close battle immediately took place “ when Trujillo came out of the room, Boudreaux said, and that's when the other deputy acted.
“The deputy saw his partner’s life was in danger, “ Boudreaux said, and fired his gun an estimated six times.
One of the bullets hit the other deputy’s hand in what Boudreaux called “friendly fire.”
Trujillo was struck in the upper torso area by gunshots and he died at the scene.
The deputy was taken to Kaweah Delta Medical Center.
The Visalia Police Department is investigating the incident.
Cynthia Trujillo said Thursday night her brother had just moved to Orosi two months ago from Dinuba, where police had been aware of her brother's condition. Her mother was used to phoning Dinuba police, who would arrange for Trujillo to be taken to get mental health services.
She has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for her brother's funeral expenses. Her brother wasn't able to work and lived with their mother.
"He (kept) to himself and didn’t go out," Cynthia Trujillo said. "He loved his nieces and nephews."
Cynthia Trujillo said if she could change one thing about the day's events, she might have told her mom not to call dispatch. She said mental health services advised the family to call police when her brother was having an "episode," and so far it had worked when they lived in Dinuba, she said.
"There were other ways deputies could have put him down if he was not cooperating, and honestly, I think officers need to be trained better when dealing with people with mental illness."