VISALIA, CA – The Visalia Mall was shut Thursday after shots were fired.
The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident that led up to an officer-involved shooting at the 2100 block of Mooney Blvd.
KMJ contacted the woman, Ruby Ann Alvarado who took the photo. She said that the mall was evacuated, and multiple rounds were fired.
Others took to social media saying that the shooting was at the JC Penny’s, and that an ambulance left the scene.
KMJ contacted Ashley Schwarm, spokesperson for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, she said they are investigating the shooting which involved the Visalia Police Department.
Visalia Police released a statement that at 4:45 PM, officers with the Visalia PD’s Special Enforcement Unit received information of a man in the area of the Visalia Mall, possibly armed and driving a stolen vehicle.
Officers set up surveillance in the area and saw the suspect exiting the north entrance of JCPenny, with what appeared to be a firearm in his waistband.
Before officers could contact him, he entered a white sedan parked on the north side of the parking lot adjacent to Walnut Ave.
Officers made contact with the subject inside the vehicle and gave him orders to exit the vehicle, but he refused.
Visalia police say he instead placed the vehicle in reverse and accelerated towards two officers.
Both officers feared for their safety, firing several rounds at the suspect as he accelerated towards them.
He exited the parking lot over the north curb and then turned eastbound and then southbound back into the parking lot towards additional officers who also fired several rounds.
The vehicle came to a stop in the north parking lot and police removed him from the vehicle.
They removed a firearm from his waistband.
Medical aid was rendered by officers on the scene and the 36 year old suspect was transported to an area hospital for treatment.
The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department took over the assault investigation against Visalia officers.