Suspect dies after being shot by police in standoff in Visalia

UPDATE: The Visalia Police Department has identified the suspect shot and killed by police as Abiel Innis De Joel Rios.


A two-hour standoff in the south Valley ended with the suspect being shot and killed by police on Thursday.

Officers said the incident started about 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon at a home near 4th and Grape Street in Visalia.

When they arrived, they found a 34-year-old man shot in the leg who told them his brother shot him with a rifle.

Police saw the suspect, 33-year-old Abiel Innis De Joel Rios, go inside the home armed with a weapon.

Over the next several hours, officers tried negotiating with Rios to come outside. They said at several different times, he came outside armed with either a shotgun or a machete-like knife, but returned inside.

"I heard the guy saying he was ready to die and kill himself," said neighbor Brock Richardson.

At one point, officers introduced a chemical agent at the back of the home. Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar said Rios then immediately fired one round from a shotgun outside a window.

"I told my daughter to hit the ground because it sounded like it was right outside my house," Richardson said.

Negotiations continued, but police say Rios refused to cooperate. When he returned outside the home, he was again armed with a shotgun, but this time pointed it at officers. That's when an officer fired one round, hitting him.

Rios was taken to Kaweah Delta Medical Center but later died. His brother who was shot was treated and released for his injuries.

Salazar said last September officers responded to this home after Rios allegedly kicked in the front door during a fight with family.

According to authorities, he took off and had a warrant out for his arrest.

Then the second time was Wednesday, when someone in the neighborhood called police after hearing shots fired. the suspect presented a shotgun and fired a round and family members left. That was not reported to police until Thursday during this investigation.

"He is obviously a violent person," Salazar said.

"We gave it everything we could to try to negotiate with the suspect but he chose not to comply with those orders and unfortunately we're left with an officer-involved shooting," he added.

Some neighbors though feel police did everything they could to take Rios into custody without harm.

"They were worried about all the people surrounding him so I feel like they did a great job," one said.
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