Driver arrested after allegedly pulling gun on supporter of Black Lives Matter mural in Martinez

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Monday, July 6, 2020
Man arrested after allegedly pulling gun on supporter of BLM mural in Martinez
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An arrest was made moments after a driver allegedly yelled, "All lives matter," and pulled a gun on a member of a crowd watching over the Black Lives Matter mural in Martinez.

MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) -- An arrest was made moments after a driver allegedly yelled, "All lives matter," and pulled a gun on a member of a crowd watching over the Black Lives Matter mural in Martinez.

"He rolled by us and yelled at everybody. And flipped us off. So I got on my skateboard to just kind of follow him to get the plates," says the young man, who had the gun pointed at him. He did not give his name, wanting to remain anonymous.

He adds, "(The driver) made a U-turn, came back at me and pointed the gun in my face. (He) said, 'Do you want to do something?' That's it. Immediately a cop was behind him and pulled him over. Thank God!"

RELATED: Protesters take to San Jose, Oakland streets to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter movement

The suspect, who has yet to be identified by police, was wearing an American flag banda, and a red, white and blue hat with an American flag. The flag's red stripes appeared to be in the shape of bullets. He was arrested without incident, as he put his hands out the window, and on police command, exited his jeep, walking back towards the officers.

"This is horrible. He exacerbated the situation. He knew what he was doing. He knew people were over here just protesting. And he came over here with that mentality. With a gun! Who left the house today with a gun? None of us did," says Michael Gonzales, a Martinez resident who was in the crowd.

A group has been standing guard over the Black Lives Matter mural that was painted on Court Street in front of the Contra Costa County court Saturday morning. It was defaced on Saturday afternoon by an unidentified man and woman.

Video obtained by ABC7 shows a suspect pouring black paint over the mural.

"I said no one wants Black Lives Matter here! That's what I said. All Lives Matter, you punk," said the man to onlookers, who were filming the couple.

As the woman painted, the couple was taunted, being called "racists" and "colonizers."

RELATED: DRONEVIEW: New mural encouraging inclusivity painted on streets of Oakland

"People are resisting arrest. Don't have a run-in with the law and don't resist arrest, and it won't be a problem," says the man to the people in the small crowd.

WATCH: Video shows the confrontation between the artists and the pair painting over the mural.

All day Sunday, people came by to write messages of solidarity, like Jenn Rosier and her niece.

"More than it being defaced, I was really personally disgusted with what I heard from the people who did this. The things they were saying. It was disturbing," says Rosier, who has lived in Martinez for more than 50 years.

Community organizer Justin Gomez, got the permit to create the mural. He says the mural was in response to anti-BLM and white supremacist recruitment fliers found circulating in Martinez last week.

"I think a statement like 'All Lives Matter' or 'racism is a leftist lie,' those statements are woefully misinformed," says Gomez, in response to the video of the couple painting over the mural.

He says he would be open to a dialogue with the couple, who have yet to be identified by police.

"This is just one part of the entire conversation. This is words on pavement. And we know it was validating to our community members of color, but ultimately what we are striving for is anti-racist policies on the books. And really, towards a community that feels safe for all of our neighbors of color in Martinez," says Gomez.

RELATED: 'I am deeply sorry': Couple who confronts San Francisco man for stenciling 'Black Lives Matter' on his own property apologizes

Police said in a statement Sunday that a white female painted over the mural as a white man made comments to onlookers.

"It appeared that the couple came to the mural with cans of paint and a roller with the specific purpose of vandalizing over the mural," the Martinez Police Department said in a statement. "The community spent a considerable amount of time painting this mural only to have the suspects destroy it by dumping and rolling paint over part of the message."

Once police were notified of what happened, the suspects were gone, the department said.

Police describe the suspects' car as a Nissan pickup truck with the word "NICOLE" on the right side in silver lettering.

The truck's license plate is "52701B1."

"The City of Martinez values tolerance and the damage to the mural was divisive and hurtful," police said. "Please help us identify those that are responsible for this crime, so they can be held accountable for their actions."