Shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, deputies with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department cleared the scene on Pinkham Street near Beech Ave.
They first responded around 3 p.m. to gather evidence after a Visalia police officer shot a suspect who was behind the wheel of a white B.M.W.
Investigators say the man killed was pulled over for questioning regarding his possible involvement in another crime. When he did not comply with the cop’s commands, the officer feared for his safety and fired his gun at the suspect.
Just up the street is Annie R. Mitchell Elementary. Kids were in class at the time of the shooting, so police immediately went to the campus and notified administrators.
“The school was put on lockdown as a precaution. We had officers respond to the school as well for presence. Once the scene was stabilized, the lockdown was lifted and the kids were able to go home,” said Sgt. Paul Esquibel, Visalia Police Dept.
Folks like Anthony Rodriguez were surprised to be greeted by so many police lights.
“It’s so close to my house you know,” said Anthony Rodriguez.
A city park also sits right along the street where the shooting took place.
“That’s where my kids go play and have fun over there. My son plays baseball across the street, so I’m glad my son was at school and my daughter was at her game and nobody was home,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez never wants to see gunfire in his neighborhood, but understands police sometimes don’t have a choice in dangerous situations.
“I’m glad they took care of it and were out doing their job,” said Rodriguez.
No word on the identity of the suspect or if a weapon was found on him or in his car.
This marks the first officer involved shooting of the year for Visalia Police.
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