Red Bluff, CA – An accused drug dealer wanted by the FBI opened fire on officers when they moved in to take him into custody and provide first aid following a shootout early Wednesday morning (video below).
The incident occurred at an apartment complex at 710 Vista Way at approximately 1:15 a.m., the Red Bluff Police Department (RBPD) said in a press release on Thursday.
Police responded to the residence after a woman called 911 to report she had been in a physical and verbal altercation with an individual who was later identified as 38-year-old Alex Francisco Vazquez, KRCR reported.
Vazquez “was actively being sought by the FBI” in connection with a federal warrant for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, according to police.
He was listed as being “armed and dangerous,” the department said.
When officers arrived at the scene, the fugitive began shooting at them outside the apartment building, KRCR reported.
The officers returned fire, hitting Vazquez.
The suspect fell onto the grass, but refused to release his weapon.
Police tried to negotiate with the wounded armed fugitive for the next 90 minutes, but to no avail, KRCR reported.
Cell phone footage showed a four-officer team as they huddled behind a ballistic shield and made their way towards the suspect.
Just as they reached him, Vazquez fired his weapon.
Two officers immediately returned fire.
Police delivered emergency medical aid before Vazquez was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, KRCR reported.
None of the officers were hit during the two exchanges of gunfire.
“I personally don’t think they needed to shoot him at the end,” one neighbor told KNVN. “I think, you know, a Taser or bean bags or something to distract him might have worked.”
Another neighbor said she believes local residents should re-establish a neighborhood watch to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
The three officers who fired their weapons during the encounter have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, as per protocol, KRCR reported.
The District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations is handling the ongoing investigation into the criminal case, and a specialized team will take over the officer-involved shooting investigation.
Additional videos are also being reviewed as part of the investigations.
“Any time any significant force is used it is disturbing to see,” Red Bluff Police Chief Kyle Sander told KRCR. “It’s traumatic for all those involved.”
You can watch cell phone footage of the officers’ encounter with Vazquez in the video below: