Visalia PD officer shoots and kills man he pulls over

February 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A traffic stop turned deadly Friday afternoon when an officer opened fire on the driver they pulled over.

The deadly shooting happened just after 2:30 p.m. on Beech and Pinkham Avenues in Visalia.

Detectives at the Tulare County Sheriff's Office are taking over the investigation tonight. Few details are being released about what lead up to the shooting, but police say the traffic stop was part of an on-going investigation.

Several bullet holes dot the windshield of a white BMW. As for what caused the officer to pull the trigger investigators will only say the driver did not comply with the officer's commands.

The man who was shot was alone in the car. Visalia Police Department Sgt. Paul Esquibel said, "He was transported to Kaweah Delta Medical Center and it was at the hospital that he was pronounced deceased."

The driver's name and age have not been released. Action news has learned the car was a rental and owned by Hertz Rental Car in downtown Visalia.

What's still unclear, though, is if the driver who was killed rented the car from this lot.

Brenda Quitoriano was at home watching her three month old granddaughter when she heard the gunshots.

"All of the sudden I heard shots. I'm like oh my gosh, whose shooting in the park. So I ran to the window and I didn't see anybody," Quitoriano said.

But soon the streets around her house were swarmed with officers. The shooting happened next to the neighborhood park and just down the street from an elementary school.

"Fortunately the kids weren't out at the playground," Quitoriano said. "Once the shots were fired we did contact the school in the area and put them on lockdown. At the time there were no kids out."

Detectives spent hours processing the scene for evidence. Police have not released the details of what happened between the time the car was pulled over and when the officer shot and killed the suspect.

Tonight the officer who fired the shots is on administrative leave. Police have asked the sheriff's office here to handle the investigation.