Visalia Police officer opens fire on man with machete

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Visalia police shoot a suspect in the arm after he threatened them with a large machete. (KFSN)

Visalia police shoot a suspect in the arm after he threatened them with a large machete. This is Visalia's first officer-involved shooting of the year happened late Wednesday night near the intersection of Tulare Avenue and Encina Street. Police said it all started with a 52-year-old man swinging a bat and yelling at random people.

Action News learned that Troy Cleffman has a history of being difficult with officers and being armed in Fresno County. In Visalia, investigators are still looking into his past, trying to understand why this happened.

A man, who didn't want to be identified, would often say hi to his neighbor, Cleffman, who was shot by Visalia police officers late Wednesday night. "Good neighbor. He's not my friend-- but you know, all the time friendly with everybody, but I don't know what's going on."

But from time-to-time, he said, Cleffman would become frustrated and hit things with his bat. And that's why police responded to his house Wednesday night. Cleffman was swinging his bat and yelling at random people, and one neighbor called the police. When police arrived, he also yelled at them and told them he was going inside his house to get a gun. When he came out, he pointed a dark object at an officer. "The officers felt that he had a gun with him-- I guess they were yelling, 'drop the gun, drop the gun-- And it didn't happen and so one officer fired the shot," said Lt. Ed Lynn, Visalia Police Department.

"Yeah, I hear something like- don't move and after that-- like three or four seconds-- I hear the shot, and that's why I come outside of my house to see what happened," said his neighbor.

It hit Cleffman in the arm, and he was brought to the hospital. He'll be booked into jail after surgery.

"I'm thankful that the officer's not injured in it. It could have turned out worse for the suspect in this. Again it appears non-life threatening, so, hopefully, we'll get some answers to what was going on last night," said Lynn.

Visalia police said they're looking into Cleffman's criminal history-- and he has one, including misdemeanor and felony arrests for resisting arrest in Fresno County.

The officer who fired the shot will be placed on paid administrative leave while the Tulare County Sheriff's Office conducts their officer-involved shooting investigation.
Related Topics:
newsofficer involved shootingtulare countyVisalia
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