Skip to Content

DA’s Office investigates Salinas police shooting that resulted in death of 19-year-old

DEADLY SALINAS OIS gerardo martinez
Monterey County District Attorney's Office

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.

Salinas resident killed in police shooting on Smith Street

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.

Central Coast / Local News / Monterey County / Salinas / Top Stories / Video
Author Profile Photo

Jonathan Sarabia

Jonathan is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.



    1. @timothy,
      I can understand a families grief, but if they are not smart enough to know this was a justified shooting then the problem isn’t justice, it’s breeding…too much of it and not enough common sense education. Was the 19 year old a special case? Was he protected under ADA? I just don’t understand the logic of people that do not understand as you said that they can’t point what appears to be a real gun at anyone, especially a trained LEO…you will be shot. My guess is the parents probably know that and are just interested in a pay check….can’t say I blame them for that one too…can’t hurt to try.

  1. All so sad. Sounds like the young man might have been handicap, mentally? Pointing a gun at police is not exactly what an everyday 19 year old would do. As to the family reactions, surely understandable, albeit totally unrealistic. For instance, asking an officer to determine if a gun is ‘real’ when it is pointed at him, is of course absurd. The officer owes it to his own family to act as if all guns all real. Also, as many of us know, pellet guns now look exactly like firearms of the same model. I have been in gun stores asking about a handgun, and was then told it was a pellet gun.
    No officer could ever in a million years suspect a gun is a pellet gun and not a firearm from appearance….especially if being pointed by a grown up person as opposed to a young child.

Leave a Reply

Skip to content