Tag Archives: Sean Monterrosa

Body cam video: Vallejo officer shoots Sean Monterrosa through windshield, then asks if he was armed

Police footage shows Vallejo officer fatally shot SF man from truck’s back seat

San Francisco Chronicle, Megan Cassidy and Anna Bauman July 8, 2020
A screen capture from body camera footage that showed the police officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa on June 2 in Vallejo.
A screen capture from body camera footage that showed the police officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa on June 2 in Vallejo. Photo: Vallejo Police Department

Body camera footage released Wednesday shows that the Vallejo police officer who killed a San Francisco man in front of a Walgreens last month was in the back seat of an unmarked pickup truck that had just pulled up to the scene when he fired a high-powered rifle through the windshield.

Sean Monterrosa, 22, died after the 12:30 a.m. shooting on June 2, following a day of rallies and protests against police violence on people of color. The footage released Wednesday shows multiple views from inside the pickup truck, which officers used to respond to reports of looting at the store.

But it does not show Monterrosa as he was shot or at any point before he was struck due to the camera angles, and police said that a store security camera that might have captured the shooting had been disabled by looters.

Police Chief Shawny Williams previously said Monterrosa was on his knees and raising his arms, “revealing what appeared to be the butt of a handgun” when he was shot, but on Wednesday he offered a description that portrayed Monterrosa as an aggressor.

“One of our detectives described what he believed was 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa turning towards the officers in a crouching down, half-kneeling position, as if in preparation to shoot,” Williams said in a recorded statement. “At the same time, the detective saw Mr. Monterrosa move his hands toward his waist area, and grab what appeared to be the butt of a handgun.”

That could not be verified by the videos released Wednesday.

When asked why he changed this description, Williams told The Chronicle that he was clarifying the previous “narrative” that was not accurate.

Williams’ revised statement now aligns with the Vallejo Police Officers’ Association’s description of Monterrosa’s body language just before the shooting.

In a statement, the union wrote, “Rather than continuing his escape, Mr. Monterrosa chose to engage the responding officers. Mr. Monterrosa abruptly pivoted back around toward the officers, crouched into a tactical shooting position, and grabbed an object in his waistband that appeared to be the butt of a handgun. At no time did Mr. Monterrosa make any movements consistent with surrendering.”

The body cam footage from the pickup truck driver, which begins without sound because the body camera has an audio delay, shows the barrel of the rifle inside the vehicle and five rounds being fired as the truck comes to a stop. The officers get out of the car and yell orders at Monterrosa, who was killed by a single bullet.

“What did he point at us?” says the officer who opened fire.

“I don’t know, man,” says the officer who was driving.

“Hey, he pointed a gun at us,” says the officer who opened fire.

Body camera footage shows the officer involved shooting that resulted in the death of Sean Monterrosa on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 in Vallejo, Calif.
Body camera footage shows the officer involved shooting that resulted in the death of Sean Monterrosa on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 in Vallejo, Calif. Photo: Vallejo Police Department

The officer’s name was not released Wednesday after the city’s police union filed for and received a temporary restraining order.

Williams has previously said the officer believed he saw the butt of a handgun poking out near Monterrosa’s waist and opened fire “due to this perceived threat.”

An investigation later revealed Monterrosa had a 15-inch hammer tucked into the pocket of a sweatshirt.

Roughly 100 friends and supporters of the Monterrosa family stood quietly Wednesday afternoon outside Vallejo City Hall, where Michelle and Ashley Monterrosa, the young man’s sisters, exited with their attorneys, John Burris and Melissa Nold. The sisters wiped away tears, and flowers and candles were set up on the steps. People wore shirts that said “Justice for Sean Monterrosa” and held signs that read “defund the police.”

ACLU, SF Board of Supes request release of footage in Monterrosa shooting

Vallejo Times-Herald, by John Glidden, July 6, 2020 
Jorge and Linda Moreno, former roommates of Sean Monterrosa, protest in front of City Hall prior to a June 5 march. Monterrosa was killed by a Vallejo police officer on June 2. (Chris Riley – Times-Herald file photo)

Pressure continues to mount from outside Vallejo to release body camera footage from the fatal officer-involved shooting of Sean Monterrosa in front of a Vallejo Walgreens during the early morning hours of June 2.

Both the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have taken the rare action of asking Vallejo leaders to release the body camera footage immediately, instead of delaying release of the footage up to 45 calendar days — as allowed by state law.

“For years, police accountability and civil rights activist in Vallejo have run up against a police department that has disproportionately targeted people of color, has been allowed to brutalize Black and Latino residents, and has rarely been held accountable for its actions,” part of the supervisors’ June 16 resolution reads.

In its five-page letter from June 30, the ACLU criticizes the city for failing to release the body camera footage, and video from a private drone sought through the California Public Records Act by the nonprofit public interest newsroom Open Vallejo.

“Not only is the city required to release these records pursuant to the PRA, the city’s delay erodes what little public trust remains with a community that has seen far too many killed and brutally assaulted by the police,” the letter states.

Monterrosa, 22, of San Francisco was shot and killed outside the Walgreens on Redwood Street. Law enforcement sources say the police officer is Jarrett Tonn. He fired five times through a car windshield, hitting Monterrosa once. City and police officials have yet to officially confirm Tonn as the shooter.

“Sean Monterrosa was my constituent and a beloved member of the Bernal Heights and Mission District neighborhoods that I represent,” said San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who authored the resolution, in a statement to the Times-Herald on Monday. “He was a passionate advocate for social justice, and his death by Vallejo police has left a painful void in our community. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the resolution I authored urging the release of body camera footage from the officers involved in Sean’s death in order to bring greater transparency to this case and help Sean’s family obtain the justice they deserve.”

Monterrosa’s sister, Ashley Monterrosa, told the Times-Herald over the weekend that the family was offered the chance recently to watch the body camera footage, but only without a lawyer. The family declined.

Ashley Monterrosa said the family is hoping to watch the footage some time this week with their lawyer. She said a lawsuit would likely be followed afterward. The Monterrosa family is being represented by civil rights attorney John Burris.