Visalia police fatally shoot man with weapon

The body of a man shot dead by police in Visalia lies behind a curtain just beyond the patrol car.
The body of a man shot dead by police in Visalia lies behind a curtain just beyond the patrol car. lgriswold@fresnobee.com

A man with a weapon was shot dead by police officers Tuesday on Mooney Boulevard, Visalia police reported.

The shooting occurred at 11:47 a.m. outside a vacant commercial building on Mooney Boulevard, near the Toys R Us at the southeast corner of Mooney and Whitendale Avenue, Sgt. Amy Watkins said.

Two police officers wearing marked police vests were investigating complaints of trespassing and burglary at the building when they unexpectedly heard a shot fired as they approached, then saw a man emerge from a stairwell, she said.

“He had a weapon in his hand,” Watkins said. “They gave the subject commands. He did not comply.”

At least one of the officers opened fire, she said.

The man was declared dead by an emergency medical team that arrived about five minutes later, she said.

Police are investigating reports that a confrontation occurred before the two police officers arrived in which a man with a gun fired at another man, Watkins said.

The man who was fired on was checked out by emergency medical personnel and had nonlife-threatening injuries that did not require transportation to a hospital, she said.

A witness who would not give his name said he saw two men arguing about a bicycle. The witness said he had come to the building to retrieve his own bike when he saw the two men arguing.

One of the men reached into a backpack and pulled out a gun and shot the other man in the neck, then ran out of the stairwell, the witness said.

About five seconds later, he heard other gunfire from what turned out to be police. He said he did not witness the police shooting. Police detained him but let him go, he said.

The Tulare County Sheriff's Department is investigating the officer-involved shooting at the request of police. The sheriff’s crime lab vehicle is on scene.

The two Visalia officers were expected to be placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is underway.