Another senseless murder by the police. Peaceful protesters should not be harmed at all. Sean Monterrosa, 22, of San Francisco, was murdered while kneeling. When will this stop? When will law enforcement be held accountable?
The man fatally shot by Vallejo police as the city erupted in chaos Tuesday was kneeling outside a Walgreens and not carrying a firearm when an officer opened fire — sending five bullets through his own windshield.
Sean Monterrosa, 22, of San Francisco died after the shooting at around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, but police did not tell the public the man was killed — or disclose the circumstances of the shooting — until Wednesday at a news conference outside City Hall, a day after calling in 50 troops from the National Guard to help control protests and rioting sparked by the Minnesota police killing of George Floyd.
In a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams 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.”
Williams did not say how far the officer, who was still in his vehicle, was from Monterrosa.
“Investigations later revealed that the weapon was a long, 15-inch hammer, tucked into the pocket of a sweatshirt,” Williams said.
The shooting is under investigation by the Vallejo police and the Solano County district attorney’s office. The officer, an 18-year veteran of the force, has been placed on administrative leave.
The killing early Tuesday morning occurred as protests, lootings and civil unrest erupted across the country. That evening in Vallejo, city officials said about 100 people and nearly 40 vehicles “surrounded” the police department, and rocks and bottles were thrown at officers.
The killing of Monterrosa, who was Latino, is almost certain to fan the flames of an already outraged community, after activists here say for years they have run up against a police department that has disproportionately targeted people of color and is rarely held accountable for its actions.
“My brother was murdered out here by a cop, too — they got no justice,” said Alicia Saddler, who is the sister of Angel Ramos, and who attended the press conference. “Now this man was on his knees? Unarmed? A hammer is not a weapon.”
For Ramos, whose 21-year-old brother was shot and killed by Vallejo police after they responded to a fight at a home, Monterrosa’s death was chillingly familiar.
Condolences to the family.