Suspect's girlfriend says Tulare Police fired for no reason

TULARE, Calif.

Tulare Police are saying the man they shot at did have a handgun on him at the time of the shooting. This is the second officer-involved shooting Tulare Police has had in two months.

People who live in the apartment complex off Meadow Drive in Tulare say they were awakened around midnight by gunfire.

Mark Dabalos said, "I heard the gunshots we were sleeping I heard gunshots I looked out and there was a boy laying out there."

Dabalos says he looked out of his window and saw several officers near an apartment. He says before the shots went off he heard the officers trying to talk to someone. "I just heard them saying get down or something or throw the stick down he had a stick or something."

Later, Dabalos says he saw a gun on the ground, next to the suspect. Family members are identifying the man as Ben Velasquez, in his 20s. He's still recovering at a hospital in Fresno. His girlfriend told Action News he was shot in the neck after police came to her apartment for playing her music too loud.

Shair Herrera said, "They didn't say nothing at all they flashed the light on him he turned around and they just took off after him and just shot him."

Tulare Police tell a different story. Officers say they responded to the apartment for a disturbance call, but when they arrived, heard gunshots.

Through their investigation of the shots they heard they encountered a male in the apartment complex. Through their contact with him there was an officer-involved shooting," said Sgt. Darron Altermatt. "The male did receive an injury which he was transported to the hospital for the male was armed with a handgun which was recovered at the scene by investigators."

The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave. TCSO is investigating the shooting.

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