Officer-Involved Shooting in Visalia Leaves Man Dead, His Family Speaks Out

Xavier Barba

Xavier Barba, 25

VISALIA – Officers with the Visalia Police Department shot a man they claim was holding a .45-caliber handgun and a clip of bullets, making them fearful for their lives.

Visalian Xavier Barba, 25, died on Saturday after two officers opened fire on him. Family members believe the shooting was unjustified.

The incident began just before 7 p.m. when police received calls that a man was driving erratically in a black SUV firing a gun in the area of Cherry Avenue and Bollinger Street. When police arrived, neighbors told them that the man had gone into an apartment. The black SUV was parked nearby.

Visalia Police Chief Colleen Mestas said that officers banged on the door to the apartment and could hear someone on the other side trying to load a bullet into a gun. Barba opened the apartment door, but when police told him to show his hands, he slammed the door.

Officers on the other side of the apartment building saw him leave through the back door and out a gate to a carport in only his boxers. This time, Barba responded to commands to put his hands in the air, but refused to drop the gun he was holding.

“He initially had the weapon above his head and then he began to lower it in the direction of the officers, against commands of the officers,” Mestas said.

She said that it was at that point that the officers shot Barba out of fear for their own lives. One officer shot four rounds and another shot three. After being hit by the bullets, Barba was taken to Kaweah Delta Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Police found two guns at the scene, one outside and another inside, as well as several expended bullets in Barba’s car and in the street.

Police suspect Barba was under the influence of both medication and alcohol during the incident. He did not have a felony record and did not seem to be involved in gangs. His only arrest as an adult was for public intoxication.

Family members spoke out, telling the media that the shooting was unjustified. They claim Barba was unarmed and had both his hands in the air when he was shot. They also said that Barba couldn’t be threatening because he was still recovering from a motorcycle accident that left him barely able to walk.


ABC Local: Fatal officer-involved shooting in Visalia

Visalia Times-Delta: Visalia Police Chief: Man had gun

Officer-Involved Shooting in Visalia Leaves Man Dead, His Family Speaks Out was last modified: January 14th, 2019 by admin
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