US Drone video shows police fatally shoot California man who pointed BB gun at officer
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Drone footage captured the moment a California man was fatally shot by police after pointing a gun at an officer — a weapon that turned out to be a “real-looking” BB gun, authorities said.
Gerardo Martinez, 19, was fatally shot byOfficer Mario Reyes on Friday night, according to a statement from Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni.
A neighbor called 911 and reported Martinez had aimed a handgun at him about five minutes earlier, officials said.
“He pointed it at us and he’s really drunk right now,” the neighbor said, according to the statement released Monday. “I need an officer over here A-S-A-P.”
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The neighbor explained the handgun might be a BB gun, “but who knows,” officials said. The 911 caller also remarked the weapon could be a small-caliber pistol, according to the statement.
The neighbor said he believed Martinez was also “under the influence of methamphetamine” and told 911 that Martinez had attacked and vandalized his property before, Pacioni’s statement said.
The first officer arrived on scene at 8:07 p.m., six minutes after the neighbor called 911, officials said. More officers arrived shortly after.
All officers wore clearly marked uniforms, Pacioni's statement said, and by 8:35 p.m., officers positioned two fully marked patrol vehicles about 50 feet from Martinez’s home. Reyes had positioned himself with a patrol rifle about 50 feet from Martinez’s home.
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Martinez partially exited a side door about 8:36 p.m., the statement said. Officers commanded him in Spanish to come out with his hands up. Martinez exited the side door several more times while officers issued commands, officials said.
At 8:37 p.m., Martinez exited the door and pointed a weapon at Reyes.
“In response, Officer Reyes fired three rounds from his patrol rifle. At least one round struck Mr. Martinez in the torso,” officials said.
Officers recovered on scene what they described as a “real-looking, black BB gun next to Martinez."
Martinez’s family could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
Salinas police referred all questions from NBC News to Pacioni’s office, which did not return multiple requests for comment.
Prior to the shooting, authorities used a drone as overhead surveillance.
A less-than-2-minute drone video provided by Pacioni’s office shows Martinez open and exit the home’s side door four times. There is no audio on the video.
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By the third time Martinez opened the door, per the video, he left the door open, briefly stepped inside the doorway, and grabbed the BB gun in his right hand and pointed it out the door frame before stepping inside again.
He opened the door a fourth and final time, the video shows, with the gun in his right hand in a pointed position. That’s when he is shot. The video shows Martinez clutch his stomach while falling onto his back into the entryway.
Pacioni’s statement said that in September 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill requiring California’s Department of Justice to investigate fatal police shootings of unarmed civilians. However, California’s DOJ “declined to investigate this shooting because Mr. Martinez was armed according to DOJ’s interpretation of the statute.”
Prosecutors said the law defines a deadly weapon to include, but is not limited to, any loaded weapon from which a shot can result in death or other physical injury, officials said.
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