Porterville Shooting: Eyewitness Accounts

July 25, 2008 7:05:12 PM PDT
Investigators say a local Porterville man was driving out of control, waving a weapon and failed to surrender to police yesterday morning. They say they had to use deadly force after he tried to break into a Foster Farms processing plant where employees could have been hurt.Investigators say a local Porterville man was driving out of control, waving a weapon and failed to surrender to police yesterday morning. They say they had to use deadly force after he tried to break into a Foster Farms processing plant where employees could have been hurt.

Foster Farms officials say they're just glad none of their employees were injured when 31-year old Eusebio Prieto tried to storm this Foster Farms Food processing plant off Plano Avenue in Porterville.

Sgt Richard Standridge of the Porterville Police Department says, "He went in through the open gate of Foster Farms and ran towards the front of the building where their employee break room is."

Standridge says a detective in an unmarked car sported Prieto driving the wrong way into on-coming traffic near the intersection of Henderson and Main Streets. The detective tried to pull him over but had no success. Police say Prieto eventually stopped near Henderson and Plano and started walking towards Foster Farms. Employees at B and B Transmissions across the street say they saw part of the scene unfold.

Jeff Hesdens of B and B Transmission, "He had a screwdriver or a knife. We saw something shiny but we weren't sure what it was."

Employees locked the front door. Heusdens says "I didn't know if he was coming this way I didn't want him coming in here."

Police say after Prieto failed to surrender the screwdriver rand listen to police orders, they fired several rounds of a bean bag shot gun. Sgt. Standridge says, "They're used as a less than lethal impact weapon designed to put a person down or knock weapons out of their hands before lethal force is used."

Police say the bean bag shot gun had no effect on Prieto. Employees at B and B Transmissions say the suspect's behavior was quite erratic. Hesden says "It looked like he was stabbing himself or something but I'm not sure."

Police say the suspect was bleeding and had several wounds on his body that appeared to be from the screwdriver. Three officers at the Porterville Police Department who fired their weapons at Prieto, eventually killing him, have been placed on administrative leave while the Tulare county District Attorney's office continues to investigate the incident.

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