Vallejo

Vallejo Officer's Actions ‘Not Objectively Reasonable' in Killing of Sean Monterrosa

Independent investigation finds officer violated policy by not trying to de-escalate the situation in the June 2020 fatal shooting

NBC Universal, Inc. A Vallejo police officer who shot and killed a 22-year-old man last year violated department policy by not trying to de-escalate the situation, according the findings in an independent investigation released late Thursday. Melissa Colorado reports.

A Vallejo police officer who shot and killed a 22-year-old man last year violated department policy by not trying to de-escalate the situation, according to findings in an independent investigation released late Thursday.

The key finding in the probe, conducted by the OIR Group, was that the officer's "determination to use deadly force was not objectively reasonable."

In June 2020, a Vallejo police officer shot and killed Sean Monterrosa while responding to a report of looting at a Walgreens store during the George Floyd protests. Monterrosa was in the parking lot and had a hammer in his sweatshirt pocket. Police say the officer mistook that hammer for a gun.

The 66-page report released Thursday night said the officer fired his service rifle rapidly through the windshield of his patrol car. Officer body cams captured footage of the shooting.

The report describes the officer's response as "tactically poor" and says the officer didn't use any de-escalation techniques.

“This is a lifelong fight for our family. We will never get Sean back. But I think for our family, it's more important the departmental changes we’re going to see. Laws being changed in California,” said Michelle Monterrosa, sister of Sean Monterrosa.

It is now up to the Vallejo Police Department to decide whether or not the officer will face disciplinary action.

The report includes a transcript of an interview with the officer who pulled the trigger, previously identified as Detective Jarrett Tonn. He told the independent investigator the following: “You know, hindsight's always 20/20 and that doesn't mean that we don't learn from our mistakes."

He then went on to say, “I do think I acted properly and did what I felt that I had to do.”

“We also hope that Officer Tonn is held accountable whether that be fired, arrested or convicted,” said Ashley Monterrosa, sister of Sean Monterrosa.

Vallejo police acknowledged the independent report, but offered only general information on the disciplinary process.

The state attorney general's office has launched its own investigation into the shooting.

“Without accountability, there’s no trust and right now. There’s strained trust between community and law enforcement. I want to commit to rebuilding that trust,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta.