4 Martinez officers placed on leave following fatal shooting of unarmed burglary suspect: officials

ByAmanda del Castillo and Cornell Barnard KGO logo
Saturday, August 19, 2023
Martinez police shoot, kill unarmed burglary suspect: officials
A burglary suspect is dead after four Martinez police officers opened fire at Velvet cannabis dispensary early Friday, authorities said.

MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) -- Four Martinez Police officers have been placed on administrative leave following the fatal shooting of a burglary suspect at a dispensary who was unarmed, according to the California Department of Justice.

Velvet Cannabis Dispensary in Martinez is responding to its followers online saying, "Our team is okay."

By midday on Friday, a large police presence remained around the business, which is located on Sunrise Drive near Pacheco Boulevard. Officers were on scene since 3:30 a.m.

With the sun up on Sunrise Drive in Martinez, dozens of evidence markers were seen scattered across the entrance to the lot outside the dispensary.

Overnight police activity shut down a portion of the street and the large scene prevented access to neighboring businesses.

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Martin Soper works at a construction site nearby, impacted by the morning's incident.

"I've never seen anything like this in this area," he said. "It's very shocking."

For much of the morning, Martinez Police and Contra Costa County Sheriff's deputies focused their efforts on the dispensary and a damaged car. The car appeared to have taken out a fire hydrant.

Online, Velvet Cannabis alerted customers its Martinez location would be closed.

A longtime neighboring business owner said the dispensary is certainly popular.

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"Traffic here has increased tenfold, people going down there, getting their marijuana," Fred Ousey shared.

Ousey said there haven't been any issues and he considers the area to be pretty safe.

"This street has always been sort of a low criminal area," he told ABC7 News. "We don't get too many problems here. Everybody's got their cameras up, everybody's pretty neighborly, so we're reporting things that go on."

Dispensary owners aren't commenting on the situation, only telling ABC7 News in a brief phone call that they're dealing with an active investigation at the location.

Throughout the morning, multiple agencies arrived to provide mutual aid. A sheriff's deputy said Martinez PD needed the assistance, without enough officers to respond.

"That worries me," Soper shared. "I mean, they had people coming down from Pleasant Hill."

At one point, Pleasant Hill PD, the CHP and the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office were on-scene to assist Martinez PD.

Our media partners at the Bay Area News Group also report two adults were taken by ambulance to a hospital. However, details surrounding who they are and their involvement were not immediately made available.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating and will independently review the incident.

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