Witness disputes Pinole cops' claim in shooting


On Tuesday night, Pinole police admitted Welch did not have a weapon when officers shot him least eight times and say what they thought was a gun turned out to be Welch's cell phone. However, that doesn't explain everything for one of Welch's friends.

Four days after the incident, Pinole police are admitting the man they shot and killed was unarmed. They now say he was pulling a cell phone, not a gun, out of his pocket.

Police say responding officers knew 20-year-old Welch was a hardcore Norteno gang member who was believed to be involved in recent shootings and who might be armed and dangerous.

Linda Servin, the mother of Welch's 2-year-old son, says that was in Welch's past.

"He was really trying to change his life for his son and he was really trying be there for his family," says Servin.

Police say Welch refused to obey their orders and he reached into his waistband and pulled out a black object. They thought it was a gun and that's when police say they shot him. However, a potential witness, whom police have not interviewed yet, says that story is impossible.

"While I was talking to him, he was giving me directions and all I hear are people screaming at him and then the phone call drops," says the witness.

The potential witness says he's afraid to talk to police, but he told ABC7 he was two minutes away from picking Welch up in his car to take him to Contra Costa College to enroll in auto body classes.

"I just know he did not have his phone in his pocket, so they could say that he was reaching for his phone, because he was on the phone when I heard the officers scream at him," says the witness.

The friend pulled up, saw Welch dead on the ground, and was ordered to leave.

On Tuesday, police also revealed that officers hit Welch twice with a baton before he was shot.

He was also Tazed by one officer as two other officers shot him, when they say he began reaching into his pocket.

"He didn't own a weapon. He was really trying to start his life, to do good for the baby," says Servin.

Police say a preliminary autopsy report shows Welch was under the influence of methamphetamine when they shot him. He was on probation for felony gun possession and dealing meth, but police did not find any weapons on him or at his home.

The case is now being investigated by the Contra Costa County district attorney.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Sgt. Matt Messier at (510) 741-2077. People who wish to remain anonymous can call Bay Area Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

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