VALLEJO (CBS SF) — Investigators have released in-store security camera video of a Vallejo Walgreens being looted by a gang of least 8 suspects prior to the June 2nd fatal officer-involved shooting of Sean Monterrosa in the parking lot outside.
The video was released late Friday night and in it a group of suspects — wearing hoodies with their faces covered — can be seen smashing into the drive-thru window. At least two suspects crawl through the window and are joined by five others in a second video in a mad scramble to ransack the pharmacy, ripping off drugs.
Investigators have not said if they believe Monterrosa was among those suspects or if he arrived at the pharmacy after it had been looted and the gang had departed.
As officers arrived to investigate the reported looting during a night of violence sparked by the outrage over the police death of George Floyd, they saw Monterrosa standing outside the drive-thru. An officer fired five times through the windshield of his police vehicle at Monterrosa when he thought he saw Monterrosa reaching for an object in his waistband that he thought was a gun. As it turned out, the object was in fact a hammer.
Vallejo Police Body Cam Video: Shooting Of Sean Monterrosa (Warning: Disturbing images, graphic language)
The video is silent at first. Part of the police body cam video is from the perspective of a detective who was sitting in the back seat of a pickup truck.
He opens fire through the front windshield of the moving vehicle. Once the audio comes back on, an officer is heard saying he thought the suspect was armed.
“What did he point at us? Hey, he pointed a gun at us,” the officer is heard saying in the clip.
The shooting has become the focal point of several investigations both local and state.
State Attorney General Xavier Becerra has announced that his office will launch an investigation of the alleged destruction of evidence in the shooting.
The bullet-hole riddled windshield from the patrol car has been destroyed instead of being preserved as evidence. Two employees have been placed on leave and officials are asking how it could have happened.
“I am deeply disappointed with the turn of events that led to the windshield not being preserved,” said Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams in a Friday night statement. “It is a priority for our department to conduct a thorough investigation and provide the transparency that our community expects and deserves. It is our hope that the State Attorney General’s Office can provide clarity in this investigation.”
However, Becerra’s announcement fell short of the demands of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others in the case. The state, at least for now, will not be launching an investigation of the actual shooting.
Pelosi also has called for the FBI to launch a federal investigation.
“The police killing of Sean Monterrosa was a horrible act of brutality that continues to shake our Bay Area community,” said Pelosi in a prepared statement. “Recent reports that key evidence in the investigation was destroyed are deeply disturbing and highlight the urgency and necessity of an outside, independent federal investigation.”
“I join Sean’s family, Vallejo city officials and community members in calling for an FBI investigation into Sean’s murder, including into the destruction of essential evidence in this homicide case,” Pelosi said.
Other investigations were also underway by local authorities, but Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams recused herself from the investigations last month, and has since reiterated her recusal, saying it was “due to the perceived conflict of handling either one of them.”
Becerra has been reluctant to enter the actual shooting investigation, sending a letter to Vallejo City Manager Greg Nyhoff saying he believes the DA is the appropriate and obligated authority.
“As we have informed the District Attorney’s Office, there is no legal basis for it to recuse itself,” the letter said. “It is absolutely critical that the shootings of Mr. (Willie) McCoy (a 20-year-old rap artist who died in a hail of bullets in a fast-food drive-thru in February 2019 after he had passed out with a gun on his lap) and Mr. Monterossa receive thorough, fair and objective evaluations by the prosecuting authority charged with carrying out the duty. The elected District Attorney in Solano County is that authority.”