25-year old Luis Avilez is in the hospital waiting to be charged with three counts of attempted murder after he allegedly shot two Visalia Police officers. Fortunately, those men are expected to recover from their injuries.
The confrontation happened on Stover Street near ben Maddox way and Houston Avenue. Police sealed off the area for 9 hours as investigators took time to carefully collect every ounce of evidence.
According to Visalia Police, around 1 p.m., two officers on gang patrol stopped a couple of men whom they thought might be trying to steal a car. One suspect, 18-year old Phillip Marquez, was immediately detained. However, the other man, 25-year old Luis Avilez, took off running.
“He (Avilez) went on a rampage through multiple homes, some of which were occupied,” said Colleen Mestas, Visalia Police Chief.
Once officers caught up with Avilez inside one of those houses they were ambushed.
“They were immediately fired upon by the suspect (Avilez),” said Chief Mestas.
Both officers were struck in the shoulder area. They are expected to recover from their injuries. Police also got off some shots, injuring Avilez.
“Both officers today acted with what I would call vigor, vigilance and courage,” said Chief Mestas.
Marianne was outside and heard the rounds fired.
“Probably at least 15 shots,” said Marianne, a woman who lives nearby.
She then saw an officer run down the street saying he had been hit, so her motherly instincts kicked in.
“I was just thinking of getting my son into the house because I didn’t know if any stray bullets were getting loose because you don’t know where this person is going to go with the gun,” said Marianne.
Fortunately the violence ended there.
“I’m grateful the officers are ok and I’m glad they got the guy because this is a family neighborhood. We’ve got kids outside enjoying the day and we don’t need that around here,” said Valerie Hernandez, a neighbor.
Investigators say both officers were wearing uniforms, so the suspects should not have had any problem determining they were cops.
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