VALLEJO (CBS SF/AP/Bay City News) — Vallejo police say officers fatally shot a 23-year-old parolee who apparently turned at them with a weapon that turned out to be a pellet gun.

Sgt. Jeff Bassett said officers fired 30 rounds early Sunday at Mario Romero who, they say, saw Romero reach for a gun.

Two officers were on patrol in the 100 block of Pepper Drive — an area known for recent gang-related activity — at about 4:30 a.m., according to Vallejo police.

Two men were spotted sitting inside a vehicle, police said. The officers turned on their patrol car spotlights to illuminate the suspects’ vehicle.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

The driver got out and the officers reported seeing the butt of a handgun in his waistband, police said.

The man — partially obscured by the open door of his car — reached for the gun and began to turn toward the officers, police said.

Believing he was going to shoot, the officers fired their weapons at the suspect, who remained crouched behind the car door.

The man did not comply with officers’ demands to show his hands, and instead reached into the vehicle toward the center console, police said.

The officers opened fire a second time and the driver slumped over.

The 23-year-old man was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A subsequent search of the vehicle yielded an “Airsoft” replica handgun and more than 50 ecstasy pills.

Both officers have been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.

Bassett said officers also shot Romero’s passenger Joseph Johnson, who underwent surgery after he was shot five times.

The incident is Vallejo’s seventh officer-involved shooting since May. Five of those shootings have been fatal.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)


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