District Attorney Releases Facts Concerning Officer Involved Shooting on July 16, 2021
Salinas, California- Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni today announced pertinent facts concerning the individual shot by police during an officer involved shooting (OIS), which occurred on Friday, July 16, 2021, at approximately 8:37 p.m., on Smith Street in Salinas.
The individual, later identified as 19-year-old Gerardo Martinez, died shortly thereafter. Salinas Police Officer Mario Reyes discharged the fatal round.
At 8:01 p.m., County Communications received a 911 call, in which the caller reported that his neighbor on Smith Street, who was extremely drunk, had pointed a black handgun at him about five minutes before his call.
When the 911 operator asked the caller what his neighbor was doing with the gun, he said, “he pointed it at us and he’s really drunk right now.” He also said, “I need an officer over here A-S-A-P.”
The caller later stated that the handgun might be a BB gun and explained that it looked small to him. He said he assumed the handgun is a BB gun, “but who knows.” However, he further remarked that it might just be a small caliber pistol.
In the call, the reporting party also told the operator that the individual brandishing the handgun at him had “attacked us before,” and that he had “vandalized their property before.” The caller said that he believed his neighbor was under the influence of methamphetamine, in addition to being really drunk.
The first Salinas police officer arrived on scene at about 8:07 p.m. Several additional officers began arriving on scene shortly after him. All wore their clearly marked duty uniforms. At about 8:35 p.m., officers positioned two fully marked patrol cars on scene.
Officer Reyes positioned himself behind the engine block of his patrol car with his patrol rifle about 50 feet from Mr. Martinez’s residence.
Officers tried to get a telephone number for Mr. Martinez, so that they could communicate with him via phone, but were unable to do so. They also deployed a drone nearby to provide overhead surveillance.
At about 8:36 p.m., Mr. Martinez partially exited the side door of his residence. Salinas officers issued commands in Spanish for him to come out with his hands up. He exited and entered the side door of the home several times, while they issued commands.
At 8:37 p.m., he retrieved the handgun from inside the home, exited the side door and pointed the weapon at Officer Reyes. In response, Officer Reyes fired three rounds from his patrol rifle. At least one round struck Mr. Martinez in the torso. He died shortly after being shot.
While securing the scene after the shooting, the officers recovered a real-looking, black BB gun next to Mr. Martinez. Drone footage captured Mr. Martinez exiting the side door of the home and pointing this realistic-looking BB gun directly at Officer Reyes before he shot him.
On September 30, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1506 into law, which requires DOJ to investigate incidents of an OIS resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian.
The California Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to investigate this shooting because Mr. Martinez was armed according to DOJ’s interpretation of the statute. The statute states that a “deadly weapon” includes, but is not limited to, any loaded weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injury, may be discharged. (Government code section 1525.3(a)(1).) DOJ informed stakeholders statewide that a BB gun falls within this definition. – Police Service of Salinas
This piece was written by Zach Heilman on July 21, 2021. It originally appeared in ThinBlueLineTV.com and is used by permission.
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