Visalia man shot and killed by officer had a violent past with his family, police say

News

Authorities have released a previous mug shot of 33-year-old Abiel Rios, the man who allegedly pointed a shotgun at officers before they opened fire Thursday afternoon.

There have been multiple altercations with Rios and his relatives, according to Visalia Police Department. Officers made contact with him as far back as two years ago.

And with Thursday’s incident, the reported tension with family members peaked, ending with Rios being shot and killed.

SWAT members rushed a home on Fourth Avenue and Granite Street moments after Rios was shot once by an officer, ending the more than two hour standoff.

Visalia Police say Rios armed himself with a shotgun and machete, and had shot his older brother in the leg just two hours earlier.

Rios allegedly opened fire on his family members on Wednesday night as well, and back in September, Sgt. Gary Williams with the Visalia Police Department says he kicked in the front door of a relative’s home, making criminal threats.

“He made a direct threat to the family member that was inside the residence at that time. (He said) that he was going to kill them,” Williams says.

Police say Rios brandished a shotgun in front of that family member.

He ran off after that, Williams says, adding that the case was sent to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office.

Williams says the home Rios barricaded himself in during Thursday’s standoff is one of two properties directly next to each other where he spent a lot of time.

Officers responded to that area in January of 2017 for another disturbance Rios was allegedly involved in.

And it’s now confirmed he had a no-bail warrant out for his arrest. “Probation was looking for him. I’m not sure if it was a case that they were working or the circumstances in regards to that,” Williams says.

Visalia police not releasing any information on the officer who shot Rios, but he is now on paid administrative leave which is protocol.

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