Officer Involved Shooting: June 2, 2020

Last updated July 24, 2020

On June 2, 2020, an officer-involved shooting at the Walgreens located on the 1000 Block of Redwood St. in Vallejo resulted in the death of 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa. Mr. Monterrosa’s death was a tragic loss of life, and we understand that the incident has raised many questions in our community, particularly in view of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests and civil uprisings across the world. 

Initial media statements have been widely inconsistent with what occurred in the early morning of June 2nd. Here, we will be posting updates to this webpage to provide clear and transparent information directly with the Vallejo community.

As authorities move forward with investigations of the officer-involved shooting, we are committed to providing residents with as much information as possible without compromising the investigations. 

The Vallejo Police Department is committed to providing the best possible police service for our community and we understand that as police officers, we are held to a higher standard due to the responsibilities we hold. Know that we are listening, and that we care about your feedback. If you have questions or inputs you’d like to share with the City and our department, please contact us at VallejoPolicePIO@cityofvallejo.net.


Critical Incident Video Release: 

VIEWER WARNING - The three (3) links below (issued 07-24-2020) contain graphic images and adult language. Viewer discretion is advised.

2020-07-24 - Body Worn Camera Footage #1 - Officer Involved Shooting: June 2, 2020

2020-07-24 - Body Worn Camera Footage #2 - Officer Involved Shooting: June 2, 2020

2020-07-24 - Body Worn Camera Footage #3 - Officer Involved Shooting: June 2, 2020

2020-07-24 - Walgreens Internal Camera Footage - May 31, 2020

2020-07-24 - Walgreens External Camera Footage - May 31, 2020

2020-07-24 - Walgreens Internal Camera Footage - June 2, 2020

2020-07-24 - Walgreens External Camera Footage - June 2, 2020 (Video File & Player)


Critical Incident Updates:  

2020-07-17 - Press Release - CA State Attorney General to Conduct Investigation into Alleged Destruction of Evidence in June 2nd OIS

2020-07-17 - Press Release - City of Vallejo Calls on District Attorney to Complete Investigations

2020-07-15 - Press Release - City Seeking Criminal Investigation in Destruction of Evidence

2020-06-10 - Press Release - Vallejo City Council Calls on Attorney General to Investigate June 2 Officer-Involved Shooting

2020-06-05 - Press Release - City of Vallejo to Request Independent Investigation by California AG

2020-06-03 - Press Release - Vallejo Police Department Issues Statement on June 2nd Officer Involved Shooting


Frequently Asked Questions:

Who is investigating this case?

Typically there are two investigations regarding an officer-involved shooting: the Vallejo Police Department would typically conduct an internal affairs investigation and the Solano County District Attorney’s Office would also investigate the case. By state law, the District Attorney (DA) has control over whether criminal charges are filed against the officers. 

In this case, Vallejo Police Chief Chief Shawny Williams has requested that the OIR Group conduct an additional third-party administrative investigation. The Department has started to implement reforms suggested by the OIR Group, one of which calls for more robust internal affairs reviews of alleged wrongdoings by officers. To ensure a robust investigation as these reforms are implemented, the Chief has asked the OIR Group to conduct an independent investigation, and the investigation has begun.

The Vallejo City Council also requested that the California Attorney General’s Office conduct an additional criminal investigation into the incident. The Attorney General's Office denied that request in a letter received by the City on July 15, 2020, and the City is now calling for the DA to investigate. (See our press release for details and links to correspondence between the Attorney General’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office and the City of Vallejo regarding the investigatory obligation.) 

On July 17, the Vallejo Police Department issued a press release announcing that State Attorney General Xavier Becerra will be stepping in to conduct a full investigation into the alleged destruction of evidence in the June 2, 2020 officer-involved shooting of Sean Monterrosa. The OIR group will also conduct a
separate administrative investigation into what happened.

What incident brought officers to the scene the night of Sean Monterrosa’s death?

Officers from the Vallejo Police Department responded to a burglary in progress in the early morning of June 2, 2020. During the night of June 1 and the morning of June 2, after the start of the city-wide curfew of 8PM, the police department received an unprecedented number of reports of burglary and looting in the City. 

One report involved a burglary at the Walgreens on the 1000 Block of Redwood Street in Vallejo. Our two responding units arrived on scene at approximately 12:35 and 12:36 a.m., respectively.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE UNMARKED POLICE VEHICLE INVOLVED IN THE SHOOTING OF SEAN MONTERROSA?

The City of Vallejo is seeking a criminal investigation into the destruction of evidence, upon discovering that the windshield from the Vallejo Police vehicle involved in the incident has been destroyed and the vehicle has been placed back into service without prior consultation with the Police Chief or City Attorney’s Office.  
 
The City of Vallejo had already requested that the Solano County District Attorney’s office or Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office conduct the criminal investigation on this Officer Involved Shooting.  On July 17, the Vallejo Police Department issued a press release announcing that State Attorney General Xavier Becerra will be stepping in to conduct a full investigation into the alleged destruction of evidence in the June 2, 2020 officer-involved shooting of Sean Monterrosa. Additionally, the City is in contact with the FBI.  (Please click the following links to see the Letter to the District Attorney, the Letter to the Attorney General, and the Letter to the U.S. Department of Justice.)
 
Two employees have been placed on leave while the investigation is pending.
 
The public will be notified as further details become available.

What evidence do police have that Sean Monterrosa was involved in the looting and what evidence did the officer have at the time of the shooting?

Our officers responded to another officer’s observed burglary in progress. Please refer to VPD’s press release issued on the matter.

What happened once officers arrived?

Just before the second responding unit arrived, an officer in the first responding unit witnessed approximately 10-12 suspected looters in the parking lot and focused his attention on a suspect later identified as Sean Monterrosa, who was seen standing on the side of the building looking side-to-side with a cell phone or radio-type device up to his ear. His right arm was extended down, with what appeared to be a weapon in his right hand alongside his body. 

When the second responding unit entered the parking lot, a suspect vehicle rammed into a police vehicle, causing airbag deployment. At the same time, Sean Monterrosa began running towards one of the suspect vehicles when he abruptly stopped. The officer saw him turn towards them suddenly and crouch down into what appeared to be a combat shooting position, placing his hands towards his waist area and exposing what officers believed to be the butt of a handgun. 

Due to the perceived threat, the Officer fired five shots through his vehicle’s windshield, striking Sean Monterrosa with one bullet.

What happened after the shooting occurred?

The officers attempted life-saving measures, including CPR. Sean Monterrosa was then transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. by a local hospital. 

It was determined that what the officers had believed to be the butt of a gun was a 15-inch hammer that Mr. Monterrosa had tucked into his front sweatshirt pocket.

Which officer was involved in the shooting of Sean Monterrosa?

After any officer-involved shooting, the officer(s) involved is/are placed on routine, paid temporary administrative leave. Depending on the length of the investigations into the incident, the officer(s) may be returned to duty following the successful completion of a psychological evaluation.

The City and the Vallejo Police Department have not identified the name of the officer(s) involved in this incident, to protect the individuals involved as well as the integrity of the investigations directly following the incident. 

Typically, the best practice is for the names of officers involved in shootings to be withheld from the public for several weeks so that the officers can prepare themselves and their families for any risks they may face as a result of their involvement with a shooting. With that being said, the City upholds its right to release the name(s) of the officer(s) at a time and through a method of its choosing. The Vallejo Police Officers’ Association filed an application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on June 16 to prevent the City from releasing the name(s) of the officer(s) involved in the June 2 incident. The City Attorney’s Office opposed the application, however the TRO was granted on June 25 and a Superior Court Judge has since issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the City from release of the name(s).  The City will release the name(s) of the involved officer(s) after the injunction is lifted.  

Unfortunately, various outlets have published speculative information regarding the identity of the officer without formal confirmation from the City of Vallejo or Vallejo Police Department. The practice of deferring release an officer’s name exists for a reason, and our Department denounces the online threats that have been made against our officers and their families. Premature release of information puts lives at risk, and we will be working to investigate the release of confidential information and those who have made the online threats.

When do you plan to identify the officer?

The City understands that the public has an interest in the identity of individuals involved in critical incidents. The City and the Vallejo Police Department have not identified the name of the officer(s), to protect the individuals involved as well as the integrity of the investigations directly following the incident. 

Typically, the best practice is for the names of officers involved in shootings to be withheld from the public for several weeks so that the officer can prepare themselves and their family for any risks they may face as a result of their involvement with a shooting. With that being said, the City upholds its right to release the name of the officer at a time and through a method of its choosing. The Vallejo Police Officers’ Association filed for a Temporary Restraining Order on June 16 to prevent the City from releasing the names of the officer(s) involved in the June 2 incident.  The City Attorney opposed the TRO application during a Court hearing on the TRO on June 25, however the TRO was granted on June 25 and a Superior Court Judge has since issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the City from release of the name(s).  The City will release the name(s) of the involved officer(s) after the injunction is lifted.  

Why did the City of Vallejo wait until Wednesday, June 3, before announcing the condition of the deceased?

The Vallejo Police Department responded to extensive organized criminal activity June 1-2, 2020, and the immediate attention required to respond to urgent calls for service disrupted the typical flow of communication from dispatch up to VPD command staff.

During the morning of June 2, at 1:31 a.m., Sean Monterrosa was pronounced deceased by the local hospital. At 1:35 a.m., VPD Dispatch entered the time of death into the Computer Aided Dispatch System. At 4:08 a.m., VPD issued its initial press release on the officer-involved shooting. At 4:33 a.m., VPD Paging issued a digital critical notification to VPD command staff and City officials that Mr. Monterrosa had been confirmed as deceased.

Between that time and Wednesday morning, VPD officers attempted to notify next of kin. It would be premature, and a disservice to our community, to release details without first attempting to notify next of kin. The department worked as quickly as reasonably possible to gather accurate information from the initial phases of the investigation to share with the public.

Was Sean Monterrosa’s hammer in his waistband or sweatshirt pocket?

The hammer was in Sean Monterrosa’s sweatshirt pocket at the time of the shooting.

What is the Vallejo Police Department’s response to reports of Sean Monterrosa being unarmed?

Sean Monterrosa had a 15-inch hammer in his sweatshirt pocket at the time of the shooting and was a suspect at the scene of a burglary in progress.  He did not have a firearm.

Where can I find information about what uses of force are and are not permitted by Vallejo Police Officers?

You can find information on appropriate use of force and de-escalation techniques in the Vallejo PD Use of Force Manual.

Vallejo Police Officers are regularly trained in de-escalation techniques. The department implemented an improved policy on appropriate use of force and de-escalation police in April 2020, and the Department provides officers 32 hours of training each year on how to implement that policy. Vallejo Police Officers are trained to de-escalate situations whenever practical and to use only the amount of force that reasonably appears necessary during a particular event.

Can you elaborate on the specific policy that allows for the shooting through a windshield and whether police consider this a justified use of lethal force?

The Vallejo Police Department's Use of Force Policy 300 is applicable to all uses of force.  There are times that the immediacy of the event requires a rapid response based upon shifting priorities and dynamic events often dictated by armed assailants. Shooting through a window or barrier is a technique we train for in preparation for an encounter with an armed subject or lethal threat. As a result, our officers have been trained in this tactic through advanced officer training. 

Why has it taken so long for the department to release the body camera footage?

To provide as much context as we can at this point in the investigation, the Department worked to gather and compile sources of video and audio, including the body-camera footage of the officer(s) involved in the incident, audio from radio conversations, and footage from the Walgreens security camera. The department also scheduled and conducted a private meeting regarding the video footage with Monterrosa’s family. By releasing the video on July 8, 2020, the Department is within the state mandated, 45-day requirement for releasing body-camera footage.

What has the Vallejo Police Department done to improve its policies?

Under Chief Shawny Williams’ leadership, the Vallejo Police Department has implemented a stronger body-worn camera policy, an improved de-escalation policy and a program to regularly analyze use-of-force data.

In 2019, the City proactively hired expert consulting group OIR to conduct an independent assessment of the Vallejo Police Department’s policies and practices.

Additional initiatives to improve the relationship between the VPD and the community are listed on the Vallejo Unites webpage.

Is Vallejo’s partnership with the California Department of Justice (DOJ) related to this officer-involved shooting?

The City has been coordinating with the DOJ to develop a collaborative agreement to help modernize and reform the Vallejo Police Department for the last several months. The agreement will go into effect from June 9, 2020 - June 9, 2023.

According to the agreement, the City of Vallejo will work together and share information with the DoJ. The DoJ will review recommendations by the OIR Group, an expert consulting group the City proactively hired in 2019 to conduct an independent assessment of VPD policies and practices. The DoJ will then offer any additional recommendations on best practices and assist and evaluate as the Department implements the recommendations.


Who can the public contact if they have information, questions or input relating to this incident?

Please know that the Vallejo Police Department is listening. If you have questions or inputs you’d like to share with the City, please contact us at VallejoPolicePIO@cityofvallejo.net.

What is the City of Vallejo's response to VPOA's filing of a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent the release of the name(s) of the officer(s) involved in the June 2 officer-involved shooting?

The City of Vallejo has learned that the Vallejo Police Officers’ Association has filed for a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent the City from releasing the name of the officer(s) involved in the June 2nd officer-involved shooting of Sean Monterrosa.  The City Attorney opposed the TRO application during a Court hearing on the TRO on June 25, however the TRO was granted on June 25 and a Superior Court Judge has since issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the City from release of the name(s).  The City will release the name(s) of the involved officer(s) after the injunction is lifted.  

Has the officer involved in the shooting faced disciplinary action?

The incident is currently under investigation, and appropriate actions will be taken if/as needed pending the outcome of the investigation(s). As part of administrative investigations following any incident,  officers’ actions are reviewed to evaluate compliance with policies, and that’s what will be evaluated in this case by the OIR Group. The Vallejo Police Department is committed to ensuring all policies are followed and enforced.