DA: Visalia man convicted of assault with a firearm at a gas station


Photo of Cotis Smith provided by the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office.

VISALIA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A Visalia man has been convicted of assault with a firearm at a gas station, according to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office.

Juries found Cotis Smith Jr. guilty of felony assault with a firearm, the special allegation of use of a firearm, and felony shooting at an occupied vehicle on Friday.

The DA’s Office says on June 29, 2020, Smith was parked at a gas pump at a central Visalia gas station. According to authorities, a security camera captured a black sedan pulling up a nearby gas pump, Smith seeming to recognize the sedan driver and pulling out a handgun. The sedan quickly drove away and Smith chased it on foot, firing two rounds at the vehicle.

Smith was taken into police custody after an investigation.

According to the Tulare DA’s Office, Smith has a criminal background including felon possession of a firearm and ammunition, transportation for sale of a controlled substance, and resisting an executive officer.

Smith’s sentencing is scheduled for January 18, 2022, and he faces up to 14 years in state prison.

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