A man shot by Visalia police Thursday afternoon at the Visalia Mall was identified Friday as Richard Sylvester Garcia, 36.
Garcia was shot after officers from a tactical team were sent to the shopping center about 4:45 p.m. in response to reports of an armed man in a stolen vehicle in the area, according to Sgt. Gary Williams.
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Officers saw the suspect coming out of the JCPenney store and it appeared he was carrying a gun in his waistband, Williams said. The suspect got into a white sedan near Walnut Avenue, and officers ordered him to get out of the car but he refused, Williams said.
The suspect instead put the car in reverse, accelerated toward two officers and the officers fired several rounds. Williams said the suspect drove out of the parking lot, over a curb and turned east and then south, back into the lot toward other officers. Those officers also opened fire. The car stopped in the lot and the subject, identified as Garcia, was taken out of the car. There was a gun in his waistband, Willliams said.
Officers rendered aid to Garcia before he was taken to a hospital. Garcia was booked on two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of stolen property, Williams said. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting.
Garcia was in stable condition Friday, Williams said.
This is the second shooting at the Visalia Mall since 2012.
Back in January 2012, two men were shot inside the mall near a candy store in a gang-related shooting that caused several shoppers to flee and closed the mall.