SALINAS, Calif. (KION) The Monterey County District Attorney's Office is investigating a 911 call that resulted in a police shooting killing a 19-year-old Salinas resident. Officers responded to a call from a concerned neighbor who said Martinez was drunk and had pointed what he believed could have been a BB gun.
The 19-year-old was identified as Gerardo Martinez, from Oaxaca, Mexico, and spoke Zapotec. “I want justice," said Martinez's mom Paulina Chavez. "They should be protecting people not killing them. but they did.”
According to the DA's Office, officers told him in Spanish to come out with his hands up. Surveillance video shows Martinez entered and exited the side door several times. At one point, Martinez got what appeared to be a handgun from inside the home.
“It wasn’t a real gun, they should’ve used a taser gun or shot him in a place where it wouldn’t kill him," said Chavez. "They shouldn’t have killed him.”
Martinez appeared to be pointing the gun at Officer Mario Reyes which led the officer on the scene to shoot Martinez three times, said the DA's Office. When officers entered the home, they said they found a real-looking black BB gun next to Martinez.
“If they see a firearm, they should investigate if it's even real," said Martinez's aunt.
The California Department of Justice decided not to investigate this shooting because, even though Martinez had a B-B gun in his possession, he was still considered armed.
Family members argue that Martinez could not understand police officers since he mainly spoke Zapotec. “They should’ve tried to look for his family and tried talking to them," said Chavez. "He was alone, they had no right to kill him.”
According to the Salinas Police Department, Officer Reyes has been working for the Salinas PD for 14 years and is currently on paid administrative leave.