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City of Salinas responds to deadly police shooting on Smith Street

Monterey County District Attorney's Office

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) The City of Salinas issued a statement Wednesday in response to a police shooting Friday that ended in the death of a 19-year-old.

Salinas police officers responded to the area after a caller reported that his neighbor was drunk and pointed what appeared to be a handgun at him. Because of the size, the caller said it could have been a BB gun.

When officers arrived, they commanded the man, Gerardo Martinez, to come out of the house with his hands out in Spanish. He is seen in drone video entering and exiting a side door several times before he exited holding what appeared to be a gun and pointed it at one of the officers. An officer shot Martinez, and he died a short time later. Officers later learned that Martinez was holding a BB gun.

Salinas resident killed in police shooting on Smith Street

"The loss of a young life-any life-is tragic," said City Manager Steve Carrigan. "We do not yet know all of the facts surrounding this incident, but we do know that incidents like this are tragic for the individual, their family, and for the community. We all need to give Gerardo's family and the community time to grieve their loss."

The City said in a statement that there will be two different investigations into the incident.

"Officer-Involved Shootings are closely scrutinized and investigated. The District Attorney's Office will conduct an independent criminal investigation into the shooting and at the same time the Salinas Police Department will conduct an administrative investigation into the Officers' actions to determine whether they acted consistently with Department policies, procedures, and training," continued City Manager Carrigan. "Given the complexity and the sensitivity of these incidents, these investigations will take some time to complete."

A bill signed into law last year requires the California Department of Justice to investigate police shootings that end in the death of an unarmed civilian, but because Martinez had a BB gun, the DOJ decided that the incident did not qualify and will not conduct an investigation.

Read the full statement below:

On Friday July 16, 2021, at approximately 8:07 P.M., the Salinas Police Department responded to a 911 call from a neighbor who reported that an individual was "really drunk" and had pointed a gun at them shortly before they called 911. The first Salinas Police Officer arrived at the Smith Street location approximately 5 minutes after the reporting resident's 911 call. Several other Salinas Police Officers later arrived at the location. The Officers attempted to communicate with the individual over the telephone, but they were unable to make contact with the individual who was later identified as 19-year-old Gerardo Martinez. During the approximately 30-minutes incident the Officers commanded Mr. Martinez, in Spanish, to come out of the house with his hands up. Mr. Martinez did not comply with the Officers' commands and entered and exited a side door of the house several times while the Officers issued the commands. During the incident, Mr. Martinez retrieved what appeared to be a firearm, but was later determined to be a BB gun, from inside the house, exited the door, and pointed the gun at the Officers. One Officer fired his service rifle, hitting Mr. Martinez at least once in his torso. Mr. Martinez died shortly after being shot.

"The loss of a young life-any life-is tragic," said City Manager Steve Carrigan. "We do not yet know all of the facts surrounding this incident, but we do know that incidents like this are tragic for the individual, their family, and for the community. We all need to give Gerardo's family and the community time to grieve their loss."

As is standard practice following Officer-Involved Shootings, two separate independent investigations will now occur. To maintain transparency and to ensure an independent review occurs, the Salinas Police Department requested the use of force investigation be undertaken by the Monterey County District Attorney's Office. "Officer-Involved Shootings are closely scrutinized and investigated. The District Attorney's Office will conduct an independent criminal investigation into the shooting and at the same time the Salinas Police Department will conduct an administrative investigation into the Officers' actions to determine whether they acted consistently with Department policies, procedures, and training," continued City Manager Carrigan. "Given the complexity and the sensitivity of these incidents, these investigations will take some time to complete."

On September 30, 2020, Governor Gavin Newson signed Assembly Bill 1506 into law, which requires the California Department of Justice to investigate Officer-Involved Shooting incidents that result in the death of an unarmed civilian. In this instance, because Mr. Martinez had a gun, the Department of Justice deemed the incident a "non-qualifying event" and declined to investigate it.

City of Salinas
Crime / Local News / Monterey County / Salinas / Top Stories

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

Comments

1 Comment

  1. There are many “Rules of Life” that must be considered. #1 is that DRUNK AND STUPID ARE THE SAME THING. #2 is that POINTING ANYTHING THAT RESEMBLES A GUN AT A POLICE OFFICER IS EVEN MORE STUPID THAN # 1. Police are not there to be intimidated by fools or to back away in fear. This guy has no one to blame but himself.

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