The two Los Banos police officers shot in the line of duty in July are doing well, but have a long road to recovery, Chief Gary Brizzee said.
Officers Kristifer Hew and Aaron Pinon responded to a domestic disturbance call and engaged in a struggle with 39-year-old Norberto Nieblas Reyes at about 6:18 a.m. July 31 at an apartment on Gilbert Gonzalez Jr. Drive in Los Banos, after he started being argumentative and combative, police said.
Family members of Nieblas Reyes, who was estranged from his wife and kids living in the apartment, told authorities he broke into the home.
During the struggle, Nieblas Reyes managed to grab one of the officers’ guns and shoot both of them, law enforcement sources have said. Pinon was shot once in the upper torso and Hew was shot three times, once each in the torso, leg and head, above an eye.
Police said at least one of the officers returned fire, killing Nieblas Reyes, who court and jail records indicate had a history of drug use and fighting with law enforcement.
The Los Banos Police Department has finished an internal investigation of the shooting and has sent the results to the Merced County District Attorney’s Office, Chief Deputy District Attorney Harold Nutt said, adding that the agency is waiting on the California Department of Justice’s report before releasing findings.
“I'm very pleased and happy to say the officers are doing much better today than they were," Brizzee said Thursday after the police department's annual National Night Out event.
The event was originally scheduled for Aug. 1, but the police department rescheduled it due to the shooting the day before.
Brizzee said Hew and Pinon were recovering from their injuries but still face more treatment and rehabilitation.
“The best part is they’re here with us, they’re here with their families,” Brizzee said. “Nothing could make me happier than that.”