Two Visalia Police Officers Shot Attempting to Stop Car Thieves
Around 1 p.m., members of the Visalia Police Department’s gang unit were on patrol around Stover Street and East Douglas Avenue when they observed two suspicious individuals near a vehicle who looked as if they might be trying to break into the vehicle. The officers approached the men and were able to take one of the subjects, 18-year-old Phillip Marquez, into custody without a problem. The other man fled the scene.
According to Police Chief Colleen Mestas, the other subject “went on a rampage through multiple homes, some of which were occupied.”
More officers arrived on the scene and began swarming the neighborhood. The suspect, identified as 25-year-old Luis Avilez, was seen going inside one of the homes.
“Our officers, in hot pursuit, followed the suspect into the home, where they were immediately fired upon by the suspect,” Mestas said. “Our officers were hit. One currently is in serious but stable condition. The other officer was also hit and suffered a less serious injury to his shoulder.”
Mestas said there was a series of return fire that occurred in the home, leaving Avilez injured. He is currently being treated at the hospital.
Mestas declined to name the officers who were shot out of respect for their families. She said they have been on the force for five to eight years.
“Both officers today acted with what I would call vigor, vigilance and courage,” she said.
Visalia Times-Delta: Two Visalia Officers Injured In Shooting
NBC KSEE 24: Two Visalia Police Officers Shot, Hospitalized