“It looks like he was probably choked to death,” said Rialto police Capt. Randy DeAnda.
Investigators are awaiting an autopsy from the San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office.
Police said Valens’ roommate, William Michael O’Connor, 37, had been taken into custody by Rialto officers on May 17 and was taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation.
After he returned home Wednesday, O’Connor got into an argument with Valens, who was on leave from the San Bernardino Postal Distribution Center in Redlands due to a medical disability, DeAnda said.
Valens grabbed a kitchen knife and began stabbing O’Connor in the head, and O’Connor fought back, fatally injuring Valens, police said.
Paramedics took O’Connor to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. He was expected to survive, authorities said.
Valens was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said the District Attorney’s Office will review the case to determine whether any charges should be filed against O’Connor. Reach Melissa via email or call her at 909-386-3878.