Vallejo Officers Mistake Hammer For Gun, Fatally Shoot Man During Reported Looting

Jeffrey Schaub
June 03, 2020 - 3:58 pm

    Related: PHOTOS: Bay Area Protests Over George Floyd's Death And The Aftermath

    Vallejo's police chief is offering details about a fatal officer-involved shooting of a 22-year-old man amid looting in the city early Tuesday.

    S.W.A.T. officers believed the man may have been reaching for a weapon.

    Instead, it was a hammer.

    It happened at 12:37 a.m. Tuesday as officers were responding to reports of looting in the pharmacy section of a Walgreens on Redwood St. in Vallejo. When police arrived, they say two cars of looters sped off from the parking lot, leaving one man behind. He was dressed in black and standing against the building.

    "(He was) holding what appeared to be a weapon," Vallejo Police Chief Shawn Williams said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference. "This individual appeared to be running toward a black sedan, but suddenly stopped, taking a kneeling position and placed his hands above his waist, revealing what appeared to be the butt of a handgun. Investigations later revealed the weapon was a long, 15-inch hammer, tucked into the pocket of his sweatshirt."

    His name was Sean Monterrosa, a Hispanic man from San Francisco. Police shot at him through their squad car window.

    John Burris is representing the Monterrosa family.

    "He was on his knees, he looks like he's bringing his hands up as described," Burris said. "There seems to be no justification for the actual shooting or discharging of weapons."

    The District Attorney's office and Vallejo Police are investigating the case.

    Watch the entire press conference here.

    There was widespread damage throughout the city and a even standoff outside Vallejo Police Department headquarters in protests late Tuesday. Fifty California National Guard troops were deployed to the city earlier in the day in anticipation of unrest related to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

    A peaceful protest preceded the violence, where police say rioters attacked officers. In turn, officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas back.

    Several rubber bullets landed in Jenny Schwank’s front yard nearly a half block away.

    "It looks more painful (than a real bullet),” Shawnk told KCBS Radio. "I know it’s not, but you can feel how dense it is."

    Vallejo resident Jenny Schwank holds a rubber bullet and a discharged tear gas canister that fell onto the street in front of her home. She says many more items were found all around her home.
    Jeffrey Schaub/KCBS Radio

    She also collected a spent tear gas canister.

    "It’s terrifying," Schwank said. "Everybody was peaceful, everybody was trying to just have their voices heard."

    Police say the widespread looting and violence extended to Vallejo City Hall, where a small fire had to be extinguished.

    A closer look at the gas canister found in a front yard in Vallejo.
    Jeffrey Schaub/KCBS Radio