California Cop Fatally Shoots Kneeling 22-Year-Old After Mistaking Hammer For Gun

Police shot and killed a California man as he was trying to surrender to officers who suspected him of looting and believed he had a gun when he only had a hammer.

Sean Monterrosa, 22, was fatally shot by a Vallejo police officer on Tuesday after officers responded to reports of looting in the area. When they arrived, police said Monterrosa attempted to flee in a getaway vehicle before changing his mind.

“This individual appeared to be running toward the black sedan but suddenly stopped, taking a kneeling position and placing his hands above his waist, revealing what appeared to be the butt of a handgun,” Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams said at a press conference on Wednesday.

It wasn’t a handgun, but a 15-inch hammer tucked into Monterrosa’s sweatshirt pocket, Williams said. 

As Monterrosa knelt with his hands raised, an 18-year veteran of the Vallejo police force fired five shots through a police vehicle’s windshield. One of the bullets struck Monterrosa and killed him.

Williams has not released the name of the officer who shot Monterrosa but said the individual has been placed on leave.

Attorney John Burris is now representing Monterrosa’s family and said he wants answers.

“[The officer] did not see Mr. Monterrosa put his hands on [the hammer] in a threatening way,” Burris said at a press conference Wednesday. “So the question here is what threat, if any, did he actually present?”

The Solano County District Attorney is now investigating the killing.

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