Monterey County DA releases video of fatal officer-involved shooting of 19-year-old

SALINAS — A Salinas man who was shot to death by police on Friday was reportedly under the influence and was waving what later was discovered to be a BB gun at a neighbor and then at police, police video of the shooting shows.

In a statement released Monday evening by Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni, Friday’s officer-involved shooting will not be investigated by the California Department of Justice because the shooting victim, 19-year-old Gerardo Martinez of Salinas, pointed a BB gun that resembled a real firearm at a police officer who then fired three rounds, killing Martinez.

The incident began just after 8 p.m. when a Smith Street neighbor of Martinez called 911 and reported that Martinez was “extremely drunk” and pointed a black handgun at him.

“He pointed it at us and he’s really drunk right now,” the neighbor told the 911 operator, according to the District Attorney. “I need an officer over here right now.”

The caller described the weapon as possibly a BB gun or a small caliber handgun, according to the DA’s investigation. The neighbor said Martinez had threatened him before and had vandalized the neighbor’s property, according to the statement. The neighbor told police he believed Martinez was under the influence of methamphetamine in addition to being intoxicated.

The first Salinas Police officer arrived on the scene at 8:07 p.m. followed by additional officers. All wore clearly marked duty uniforms, the DA said. At about 8:35 p.m. police positioned two fully marked patrol cars on scene.

One of the officers, Mario Reyes, positioned himself behind the front of a patrol car so that the vehicle’s engine block would provide protection should he be fired at. The car was about 50 feet from a door to the suspect’s house, according to the statement.

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In the intervening minutes, police tried to secure a phone number for Martinez but were unable to do so. They also deployed a drone for surveillance.

At about 8:36, police video from a drone above the scene shows Martinez opening the door, looking out and going back inside. A few seconds later he reemerges holding what appeared to be a beverage can while he shielded his eyes from police spotlights. Police began issuing verbal commands in Spanish for Martinez to come out of the house with his hands raised.

Martinez did not obey the commands, the video shows, and went back inside the house. At 8:37 p.m. he retrieved the gun, video shows, walked outside and pointed it at Reyes according to the DA’s Office (Reyes is not pictured in the video). Reyes fired three rounds from his rifle, striking Martinez in the torso and knocking him back inside the house.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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