Suspect killed and 2 officers injured in officer involved shooting in Avenal

AVENAL, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was quiet on the 600 block of North 5th Avenue in Avenal Thursday, but just less than 24 hours beforehand an officer involved shooting left 25-year-old Sergio Velasco-Martinez dead, and two officers injured.

Police said two officers were responding to a child custody complaint around seven at Velasco's apartment. He had his one and a half year old child sitting on the couch in the same room when he began to argue with police.

"There was a police flashlight, taser, and some other items that were left there as a result of the fight-- it was a knock down drag out sort of fight," said Russell Stivers, Avenal Police Chief.

The Avenal Police Chief said his officers tried to de-escalate the situation by talking with Velasco, but when that did not work police said he made a movement toward a metal rod, so police tried to tase him. They said the taser had no affect and Velasco continued to fight.

"When he got up off the ground he then struck one of the officers in the face area with a metal rod, the officer then retreated to create some distance and then Mr. Velasco proceeded to hit the second officer," said Stivers.

Police said that is when one of the officers fired multiple shots, defending the other officer.

"They're doing well, they're at home resting. They were treated and released last night and they had some blunt force trauma and abrasions, lacerations from the metal rod," said Stivers.

Police said they have dealt with Velasco in the past, and have responded to child custody and domestic violence calls there before. One neighbor said she has only lived there for one year and has seen officers there on multiple occasions.

"Three times since I've moved in there's been a lot of problems over there," said Sandra Tsimos, neighbor.

Officers said they called Child Protective Services but are not sure if they have turned the child over to the mother yet.

Hanford Police Department is conducting the investigation.

"Last night we had a 25 year veteran that was at the scene and no one comes to work that day expecting something like this to happen-- especially on a call like this, but this just shows you the dangerous nature of the profession," said Stivers.

Police also said it is still unclear whether or not Velasco was under the influence of any alcohol or drugs during the time of the fight, and did not have any criminal history.
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