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

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- Wednesday marks one year since a Vallejo police officer shot and killed 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa outside a Walgreens where there had been a looting during a protest over George Floyd's murder by police.

In the 365 days since Sean Monterrosa's death, his sisters Michelle and Ashley have fought for justice.

RELATED: Sisters of man shot, killed by Vallejo police arrested outside Gov. Newsom's home for protesting

"This is a life long fight now," said Michelle Monterrosa.

Less than an hour before a Vallejo Police Officer shot and killed Monterrosa, the 22-year-old texted his sisters, asking them to sign a petition for justice for George Floyd.

They never imagined the following day, they'd be advocating for their family as well.

"We've turned our pain into power and we've turned this pain into a different type of purpose," said Ashley Monterrosa.

VIDEO: Vallejo police release bodycam footage from fatal shooting of Sean Monterrosa
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Vallejo police released body camera video from the June 2 fatal shooting of Sean Monterrosa Wednesday. Officers shot and killed Monterrosa through the windshield of a patrol car following a night of looting.



On June 2, a Vallejo police officer shot and killed Sean from the back seat of an unmarked police vehicle, firing through the windshield.

Sean Monterrosa was outside a Walgreens where there had been a looting. Vallejo police said he 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.

On the four-month anniversary of Sean's death, the California Highway Patrol arrested Michelle and Ashley for protesting outside Governor Gavin Newsom's home.

The charges were later dropped.

"It just goes to show continuously how far impacted families have to go to get barely any type of attention or recognition," said Ashley Monterrosa.

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

Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams recused herself from the case. Last month, the Attorney General announced the Department of Justice would conduct an independent review to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

"It gives us hope," said Michelle Monterrosa.

"We want to see the real change and accountability come to the city of Vallejo," she continued.

Sean's sisters say they don't want his life to be defined by June 2.

Sean mentored young people at Horizons Unlimited of San Francisco and was about to start a new carpentry job.

RELATED: Vallejo PD says Monterrosa was at half-kneel when shot in back of head by officer

"Sean had a whole life ahead of him," said Michelle Monterrosa.

The Vallejo Police Department turned down the I-TEAM's request for an interview with Chief Shawny Williams citing the ongoing investigation. In an emailed statement, the department's spokesperson acknowledged the anniversary. Writing, quote, "It is important for us as a city and department to acknowledge that his death was a tragic event and loss of life, creating a void in his community."

His family plans to look at pictures, reminisce and eat Sean's favorite foods before getting back to their newfound mission.

"Whatever is done in the dark comes to light," said Michelle Monterrosa.

This weekend the family will have several events to memorialize Sean Monterrosa. Details here.

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