However, police say the man never fired a shot at officers.
Don Martin, Tyler Police public information officer, said officers responded to a call regarding numerous gunshots in the 600 block of East Queen Street shortly after midnight Tuesday.
“Officers located gunshots coming from the rear of the residence at 603 E. Queen St. As officers approached the residence from the west side, they could see muzzle flash and shots coming from the back of the residence,” he said.
Martin said after officers observed a Hispanic man with a weapon they identified themselves as officers and gave commands to drop the weapon.
“The (man) failed to comply with the officers instructions and re-entered the residence through the back door. Officer Matt Riggle moved to the back door and continued to give this suspect commands to drop the weapon,” he said.
Martin said the man, identified as Victor Fuentes, pointed the handgun at Officer Riggle and Riggle fired his patrol rifle (AR-15) several times striking Fuentes.
Fuentes was pronounced dead at the scene by Smith County precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Gary Alfred.
A revolver was located on the floor next to Fuentes.
“There are indications at the scene that suggest gang associations with the residence and with this individual,” Martin said.
He added that alcohol was present at the residence and may have played a part in the incident.
“In addition, detectives located in excess of 50 plus spent firearm cartridge rounds located at the rear of the residence. This indicates that a substantial amount of gunfire occurred prior to police arrival,” he said.
He further added that each New Year, police receive reports of shots fired as some in the community celebrate the holiday.
Martin said Alfred ordered an autopsy to be conducted by Southwest Forensics in Dallas.
Martin said Riggle, who has been employed with the Tyler Police Department since 2008, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending further investigation.
Martin said the Texas Rangers are assisting in the investigation and crime scene technicians on Tuesday used a 360 camera to map the entire scene.
Martin did not know how many people were in the residence at the time of the shooting or if anyone faces charges.
He would not clarify what indicated gang activity in the home, but Smith County records show that at least one person, a possible family member of Fluentes, has been arrested at the location in the past for engaging in organized criminal activity, drugs and obstruction and retaliation.
The last known officer related shooting for the Tyler Police Department occurred in 2007 when SWAT officers grazed a woman’s head who pointed a handgun at them. The woman was not seriously injured.
Other prior Tyler police shootings include the May 2005 shooting death of 60-year-old Peggy Jo Tallas, AKA “Cowboy Bob” who robbed a south Tyler bank before stepping out of her motor home pointing a gun at officers and the Smith County Courthouse shooting, where David Arroyo Sr., shot and killed his wife, a bystander and injured multiple officers and his son. Arroyo was shot and killed by a Tyler SWAT officer after a gun battle through town.