Tulare County Sheriff's Sgt. Stabbed by Suspect

Visalia, CA Visalia Police said it started just before 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon, when three Tulare County Sheriff's Deputies went to a Visalia home to serve an eviction notice. Police said the suspect, Melvin Nicks, stabbed Tulare County Sheriff's Sergeant John Gray in the upper chest as the officer approached his home. Gray returned fire and then Nicks ran back into the home, initiating a stand-off that lasted more than 2 hours.

50 year old Melvin Nicks walked out of the home just before 4:30 p.m. wearing nothing but underwear, and apparently suffering wounds to his stomach.

Witnesses said just before the standoff began, they heard 12 gunshots and watched as officers rushed to help Sgt. Gray. "There were 3 cops that were pulling him out of the car and dragging him down the road and pulling him into another cop car," said neighbor William Ladig.

Nathan Elizondo said he was just getting out of football practice when he heard the shots. "They were dragging him to see what was wrong with him and they guy ran into the house," said Elizondo.

SWAT officers invaded the neighborhood within minutes and police emptied nearby Recreation Park. Meanwhile, Visalia Oak employees were told to stay inside their offices. "Players came in off the field, we locked the gates, stayed in the office for a while, and figured out what to do next," said Donny Baarnes, with the Oak's Media Relations. Oaks management eventually decided to postpone their game with the Modesto Nuts.

Sgt. Gray was treated and released from a Visalia Hospital, while the suspect remains hospitalized for gunshot wounds. Nicks's wife told Action News her husband is a paranoid schizophrenic who didn't understand they were being evicted. She said his mental illness likely contributed to the violent confrontation.


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