A 22-year-old man was in a half-kneeling position when an officer in a Bay Area city fatally shot him through a police vehicle’s windshield, police said Wednesday.
Sean Monterrosa, 22, of San Francisco, was outside a Walgreens in Vallejo, California, shortly after midnight Tuesday when police responded to a report the store was being looted, police said.
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Monterrosa began running toward a car, and then stopped, crouched down in a half-kneeling position facing officers, authorities said. He had in his sweatshirt pocket a hammer. Police thought it was a gun and that he was kneeling “in preparation to shoot.”
Monterrosa reached for his waist area, police said, and an officer in a police vehicle shot him five times through the windshield, striking him once.
He was taken to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries. The officer who fatally shot him has been placed on leave, police said, and the incident will be investigated by the Vallejo police and the Solano County District Attorney.
Police did not provide evidence that Monterrosa was looting at the time of the shooting. At about the same time Monterrosa ran toward a car and then stopped, officers saw “potential looters” get into two vehicles that fled the scene, the police statement said.
Vallejo police’s press conference on Wednesday announcing the killing on Monterrosa was cut short by an upset crowd, NBC Bay Area reported.
Monterrosa was Latino, and police in Vallejo, a city of 122,000 about 30 miles north of downtown San Francisco, have had a tense relationship with residents and activists since a string of fatal incidents, the majority of them involving black and Latino men.
In February 2019, a young black rapper, Willie McCoy, was fatally shot by six officers, which at the time was the 16th death involving Vallejo officers since 2011, police records showed.