Porterville OIS suspect had history of mental illness and drug abuse

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Sunday night, Family members told Tulare County Sheriff's deputies that Arturo Moreno had been drinking, using drugs, and acting bizarrely-even threatening to kill his relatives.

He wasn't supposed to be at the home on Leggett Street-they had even changed the locks to keep him out.

But deputies spotted him through the window of an attached building at the home.

They used a key to get inside, but Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux says Moreno started swinging a shovel at officers, cutting a sergeant in the arm.

Deputies hit Moreno with a Taser, but he kept swinging and moved to another room.

A deputy K9 was deployed, but Moreno hit the dog with the shovel several times, causing a deep cut to its neck.

"He picked up a crowbar," Boudreaux said. "As deputies are talking to him, Mr. Moreno swings the crowbar over his head, and attempts to strike our sergeant with the crowbar where our sergeant fired we believe two rounds...striking Mr. Moreno and killing him on scene."

Moreno has a criminal past.

In June of 2018, prosecutors charged him with assault with a deadly weapon on a deputy.

Later that month, a therapist performed a mental health assessment on him.

"Mr. Moreno presented as anxious and paranoid during his mental health evaluation," the therapist wrote. "Mr. Moreno was placed in a safety cell from 6/11/18 to 6/14/18 due to making homicidal threats towards officers saying, 'I will kill you if you take me to court.'"

A few months later, Moreno was sent to a state hospital after being found not competent to stand trial.

But he was found competent again in January of this year, and in March, he was sentenced to three years probation for the assault on the deputy.

But the sheriff's office says Moreno was cited and released several times since then for being under the influence of a controlled substance.

His most recent arrest was on Saturday.

The sheriff's office also identified Moreno as an undocumented immigrant.

Porterville Police will continue to investigate Sunday's officer-involved shooting.

"We're saddened that a life in fact was lost, but Mr. Moreno created this situation," Boudreaux said.
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