Vallejo police captain wasn't wearing body cam when officer fatally shot Sean Monterrosa

ByMelanie Woodrow via KGO logo
Friday, July 10, 2020
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The department did release some body cam video, but it doesn't show what happened in the critical moments before an officer shot and killed Monterrosa, or the large hammer police say he was carrying.

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- There are new questions about the Vallejo police officer shooting and killing of Sean Monterrosa June 2.

The department released body-worn camera video Wednesday, but it doesn't show what happened in the critical moments before an officer shot and killed Monterrosa.

The ABC7 News I-TEAM has also confirmed the captain who arrived on the scene and radioed Monterrosa was possibly armed wasn't wearing a body camera.

For more than a month Sean Monterrosa's family, their attorney, and the public have waited to see why a Vallejo police officer shot and killed him.

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

"What was Sean Monterrosa doing at the very time he was shot? Was he running, was he crouched, was he surrendering, what?" asked attorney John Burris.

Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams has said the officers reacted to a perceived threat.

According to Williams, Monterrosa was crouching 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 this large hammer.

Only there's no video of that perceived threat.

Wednesday, the Vallejo Police Department released body-worn camera from the three detectives inside an unmarked truck who responded to the Walgreens looting on June 2, including video from the unnamed officer who fired the fatal shot from the back seat.

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

"Shooting through a window and you're in the backseat of a car you have plenty of options to move before you have to exercise deadly force," said Burris.

The detective who fired the fatal shot at Monterrosa asks, "What did he point at us?"

The detective who had been driving responds, "I don't know man."

Then the detective who fired the fatal shot says, "Hey he pointed a gun at us."

"There's no evidence he pointed anything at him there's no corroboration for that," said Burris.

The detective who fired the fatal shot appears to become overwhelmed. He grunts several times as the Captain and another officer look up at him.

RELATED: Vallejo police release bodycam video from fatal shooting of Sean Monterrosa

"The other officers are probably looking at him saying what the hell did you do that for? What was that," said Burris.

In body camera video from the officer who fired the fatal shot, you can see the Captain on scene isn't wearing a body camera.

ABC7 News I-TEAM reporter Melanie Woodrow asked the Vallejo Police Department why?

A spokesperson responded with an emailed statement:

"Captains, while police officers, are considered members of our command/administrative staff and did not anticipate being activated in an enforcement function during the early morning hours of June 2nd. Due to the immediate threat and vast number of calls for service, during that time, our Captains responded to assist in a service capacity. Normally, Captains do not respond to calls and therefore are not issued body-worn cameras in the course of their daily duties."

RELATED: Vallejo police officer shoots, kills 22-year-old on his knees after mistaking hammer for gun, chief says

Without critical video of the moments leading up to the shooting, there's only the officers' statements to go on.

"I thought that (expletive) axe was a gun," the officer who fired the fatal shot is heard saying on his body worn camera video.

"Yeah, well I thought he was armed too dude," the captain on scene responds.

Vallejo Police say a Walgreens surveillance camera which could have shown what happened was destroyed in a May 31 looting.