Outside hearing officer recommends Vallejo officer who shot, killed man shouldn't be fired

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Thursday, June 2, 2022
Hearing officer disagrees with Vallejo police chief on firing
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An outside hearing officer is recommending Vallejo police officer Jarrett Tonn not be fired for shooting, killing Sean Monterrosa outside a Walgreens.

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- Thursday marks two years since a Vallejo police officer shot and killed Sean Monterrosa outside a Walgreens. Police Chief Shawny Williams previously stated his intent to terminate the police officer who fired the fatal shots, but now an outside hearing officer has recommended otherwise.

Coinciding with the two-year anniversary of Officer Jarrett Tonn shooting and killing Monterrosa, Chief Williams must now decide whether to accept, reject or modify the findings of an outside hearing officer who found Tonn should not be terminated.

Attorney Mike Rains does not represent Tonn but does represent other Vallejo police officers. He says his understanding comes from several officers with knowledge of the latest development.

"This report by the outside hearing officer is essentially a recommendation made back to the police chief," said Rains.

RELATED: Vallejo PD's use of force not objectively reasonable in Sean Monterrosa's death, investigation finds

Monterrosa's sisters Michelle and Ashley are holding onto hope that Chief Williams will maintain his original intent to fire Tonn.

"Well I think we're hopeful that he's going to continue to push for his termination at the end of the day," said Michelle Monterrosa.

On June 2, Tonn shot and killed Monterrosa from the back seat of an unmarked police vehicle, firing through the windshield five times with one bullet hitting Monterrosa in the back of his head. Monterrosa was outside a Walgreens where there had been looting. After the shooting, Vallejo police said Monterrosa was crouched down in a half-kneeling position, moving his hands towards his waist area revealing what appeared to be the butt of a handgun. It turned out to be a hammer.

RELATED: Monterrosa sisters turned 'pain into purpose' in year since brother was killed by Vallejo officer

The Vallejo Police Department had never publicly named Tonn, but he is named in a civil lawsuit Monterrosa's parents filed against the City of Vallejo and Tonn.

In December, the I-Team obtained a copy of Chief Williams's notice of intended discipline to Tonn.

In it Chief Williams references this exchange between Tonn and another officer where Tonn asks, "What did he point at us?" Another officer responds, "I don't know man." Tonn then calls out, "Hey, he pointed a gun at us."

The Chief writes in his letter of intended discipline "...you did not even have a firm belief that Mr. Monterrosa was armed. You even acknowledged to investigators afterwards that you were uncertain."

RELATED: Family speaks out after Vallejo police mistake hammer for gun and shoot, kill 22-year-old

ABC7 News asked the Vallejo Police Department if Chief Williams has made a final decision about Tonn's termination. In an email, a police spokesperson wrote, "The City and police department are unable to speak on Peace Officer personnel matters."

The City attorney's office also told ABC7 News it could not discuss personnel matters.

More than disciplinary action, the Monterrosa family wants criminal charges to be filed.

"Time and time again in this country, in California, we see that no officer is held accountable or held responsible for their actions," said Ashley Monterrosa.

After Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams recused herself from the case, Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the Department of Justice would conduct an independent review.

RELATED: District attorney explains why she refused to investigate fatal Vallejo police shootings

For all their advocacy work, the Monterrosa sisters know their brother would be proud, but it's that question that brings Michelle to tears.

"It's emotional because it's like what would he say? He should be here to tell us," said Michelle Monterrosa.

Both say they're now working to develop an identity separate from their loss.

"Rediscovering who we were before June 2," said Ashley Monterrosa.

Thursday night they'll hold a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. at the Walgreens at 1050 Redwood Street.

In an emailed statement to ABC7 News, Vallejo Chief of Police Shawny Williams writes, "The heartache of grief is never-ending because it stems from love. I can only imagine the pain of losing a son, brother, and family member is incomprehensible and deep. I would like express my most sincere sympathies to Sean's parents, sisters, and family."

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