Man Shot and Killed by Visalia Police, Investigation Under Way
At least two investigations are now under way after a shooting Tuesday, involving a Visalia Police Officer, that killed a man.
The shooting happened before noon, at a business complex on Mooney Boulevard, south of Whitendale.
Officers say they had been at the complex earlier in the morning to clear out the place, as the owner prepares to make some renovations.
The building had been empty, but transients had recently been breaking into the place.
They returned hours later.
"As they pulled into the parking lot and arrived on scene, they heard a shot being fired from the vacant business complex," says Lt. Amy Watkins with Visalia Police.
Watkins says the officers saw one man who had been hurt in the neck, but refused to be taken to a hospital.
A second man came out of the building.
"They saw a man running from building with a weapon in his hand," Watkins says.
Officers ordered the man to put down the weapon, but they say he didn't cooperate.
"He was shot," Watkins says.
The man died at the scene.
Family members and church leaders identified the man as 28-year-old Chris DeLeon.
Pastor John Rodriguez from Victory Outreach says he knew DeLeon for the last six years.
"[He] went through our program, held a job, was productive he was doing really good," Rodriguez says.
But Rodriguez says things unraveled last month, and DeLeon vanished back into the cloud of drug addiction last month.
"We tried to get him back but he was so far on the drugs it was hard to get through to him," he says.
Rodriguez says DeLeon leaves behind a wife and young son.
"When you live that type of life, it takes you further. Maybe drugs at first, then you go to criminal activity, robbing, stealing. Who knows if it ends up like this, but it could happen to anybody."
Two Visalia Police Officers are on leave as a result of the shooting.
The Tulare County Sheriff's Department will be investigating the actual shooting.
Visalia Police will be looking into what led up to the shooting.
This is the first shooting of 2015 involving a Visalia Police Officer.