VISALIA, Calif.—Police in the Central Valley community of Visalia are releasing more details about the fatal shooting of a man last week they say was acting aggressively during a traffic stop and was later found to have a gun in his car.

Visalia police Chief Colleen Mestas said Monday that 22-year-old Armando Santibanez of Visalia became defiant of officers' commands after he was pulled over Friday.

Mestas says one of the officers fired because he feared for his life when Santibanez—described by police as a suspected drug dealer and a convicted felon—revved up his car's engine and reached down several times.

Police say a 9 mm handgun was later found under the seat of the car.

The name of the officer involved in the shooting has not been released. He has been placed on paid leave while the shooting is investigated by Tulare County sheriff's officials.