VALLEJO (CBS SF) — The Vallejo Police Officer’s Association is backing the officer involved in the shooting death earlier this week of 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa outside a Walgreens store.

In a letter released Friday, the association defended the officer’s actions, saying the officer used deadly force as a last resort, because he was afraid Monterrosa was about to open fire on officers in the vehicle.The association contends the officer had no other reasonable option to prevent getting shot.

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Following the shooting, officers learned an object sticking out of Monterrosa’s sweatshirt pocket was in fact a hammer and not a gun.

Officers with the Vallejo Police Department responded just after midnight on Tuesday to a report of looting near the pharmacy and saw Monterrosa, a San Francisco resident, running from the building toward a vehicle.

Monterrosa then kneeled to the ground while facing officers.

An officer, who believed the hammer sticking out of Monterrosa’s sweatshirt pocket was the butt of a handgun, fired several shots at Monterrosa through the windshield of his squad car.

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Monterrosa was shot and later died at the hospital.

The officer involved in the shooting was placed on administrative leave pending investigations by Vallejo police and the Solano County District Attorney’s Office.

In the letter, the police association placed fault on Monterrosa’s decision to “engage the responding officers” because he “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.”

The association also reported in the letter the officer is facing multiple death threats to himself and his children.

The association ended the letter by asking the public to support this officer and the good work done by the overwhelming majority of all officers.

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