Authorities release details of deadly officer-involved shooting near Tachi Palace

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Suspect David Phoenix was a regular visitor to the rancheria and the sheriff's department said they had frequent contacts with him. (KFSN)

The Kings County Sheriff's Department released more details Monday about last week's officer-involved shooting near the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino.

Investigators say David Phoenix brandished a handgun at several different people. Sheriff's office speaker Dave Putnam held a news conference with Avenal Police Chief Russell Stivers because it was an officer from Avenal who fired the shots that killed the suspect.

The Avenal police officer was part of a Kings County task force that responded to reports of a violent man at the Santa Rosa Rancheria, an Indian reservation adjacent to the Tachi Palace Casino.

Phoenix, 25, is from Winnemucca, Nevada. Phoenix was a regular visitor to the rancheria and the sheriff's department said they had frequent contacts with him.

Putnam says on Friday night Phoenix threatened security officers on the reservation with a gun and then fled to a house.

"At this house, he repeatedly threatened additional people inside the residence while continuing to brandish the handgun," he said.

Putnam says deputies and other officers with the gang task force surrounded the house but Phoenix fled out of a window. He was then confronted by an officer of the Avenal Police Department.

"Mr. Phoenix turned and pointed his handgun at a law enforcement officer," he said. "(Officer) Rivera fired at Mr. Phoenix, obviously fearing for his life after having a gun pointed at him. The result was Mr. Phoenix was hit by gunfire and immediately fell to the ground."

Four shots were fired Phoenix was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The gun Phoenix was holding was not real but looked like a semi-automatic handgun.

Stivers says it appeared Phoenix was under the influence.

"Judging by his irrational behavior, it seems there was something going on in his system," he said. "I would say a rational person does not point a replica handgun at a law-enforcement officer without expecting them to defend themselves."

The officer is on paid administrative leave while the shooting is under investigation.

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