Officer-involved shooting leaves 1 dead, 1 injured

September 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A suspicious vehicle check escalated into a fatal officer-involved shooting Sunday morning.

Two Vallejo officers fired more than 30 rounds, killing a man who was armed with an air soft pellet gun. It happened during a stop around 4 a.m. Sunday in front of a home on Pepper Drive and Lofas Place.

A white car with more than a dozen bullet holes in the windshield. That's what's left after the early morning shooting.

"I heard a girl saying 'don't shoot' and then I heard like 20 rounds go off," Shawnice Chiles said. Chiles says she heard the volley of gunfire from inside her house which is right next door.

Police say the officers pulled up on the vehicle with their spot lights on and noticed the driver get out of the car with what they thought was a gun in his waistband, "The driver ducked and turned away from them behind the driver's door and then continued his turning movement facing them with now the gun in his hand," Sgt. Jeff Bassett said.

According the Vallejo police, this is a neighborhood that has seen lots of gang activity recently. So the officers initially drove up to the car to see why it was parked there. They fired several rounds then began shouting at the driver. Investigators say he showed his hands then ducked into the front seat of the vehicle. At about that time, one of the officers jumped onto the hood of the white car.

"Approached the vehicle, jumped onto the hood to get a better view of what was happening on the interior of the car during the second volley," Bassett said.

Police say the suspect was pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital. He did not fire at officers. They found what they describe as an air soft rubber pellet gun in the car along with 40 tabs of ecstasy. Friends and extended family tell ABC7 News the victim is 23-year-old Mario Romero.

Police say this all unfolded within seconds. And they're now investigating their seventh officer involved shooting this May.

When asked if there was any kind of exchange before the shooting happened, or any kind of dialogue between the officers and the suspect, police said there was none. Police say more than 30 rounds were fired by the officers.

Of the seven officer-involved shootings since May, five have been fatal.


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