Release Date/Time: 7/19/2021 6:00 PM
Incident: Officer Involved Shooting
Date: Friday, 7/16/2021
Time: 8:37 PM
Location: Smith Street
Salinas, California- Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni today announced
pertinent facts concerning the individual shot by police during an officer involved shooting (OIS),
which occurred on Friday, July 16, 2021, at approximately 8:37 p.m., on Smith Street in Salinas.
The individual, later identified as 19-year-old Gerardo Martinez, died shortly thereafter. Salinas
Police Officer Mario Reyes discharged the fatal round.
At 8:01 p.m., County Communications received a 911 call, in which the caller reported that his
neighbor on Smith Street, who was extremely drunk, had pointed a black handgun at him about five
minutes before his call. When the 911 operator asked the caller what his neighbor was doing with
the gun, he said, “he pointed it at us and he’s really drunk right now.” He also said, “I need an
officer over here A-S-A-P.”
The caller later stated that the handgun might be a BB gun and explained that it looked small to
him. He said he assumed the handgun is a BB gun, “but who knows.” However, he further remarked
that it might just be a small caliber pistol. In the call, the reporting party also told the operator that
the individual brandishing the handgun at him had “attacked us before,” and that he had “vandalized
their property before.” The caller said that he believed his neighbor was under the influence of
methamphetamine, in addition to being really drunk.
The first Salinas police officer arrived on scene at about 8:07 p.m. Several additional officers began
arriving on scene shortly after him. All wore their clearly marked duty uniforms. At about 8:35
p.m., officers positioned two fully marked patrol cars on scene.
Officer Reyes positioned himself behind the engine block of his patrol car with his patrol rifle about
50 feet from Mr. Martinez’s residence.
Officers tried to get a telephone number for Mr. Martinez, so that they could communicate with him via phone, but were unable to do so. They also deployed a drone nearby to provide overhead surveillance.
At about 8:36 p.m., Mr. Martinez partially exited the side door of his residence. Salinas officers issued commands in Spanish for him to come out with his hands up. He exited and entered the side door of the home several times, while they issued commands.
At 8:37 p.m., he retrieved the handgun from inside the home, exited the side door and pointed the weapon at Officer Reyes. In response, Officer Reyes fired three rounds from his patrol rifle. At least one round struck Mr. Martinez in the torso. He died shortly after being shot.
While securing the scene after the shooting, the officers recovered a real-looking, black BB gun next to Mr. Martinez. Drone footage captured Mr. Martinez exiting the side door of the home and pointing this realistic-looking BB gun directly at Officer Reyes before he shot him.
On September 30, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1506 into law, which requires DOJ to investigate incidents of an OIS resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian. The California Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to investigate this shooting because Mr. Martinez was armed according to DOJ’s interpretation of the statute. The statute states that a “deadly weapon” includes, but is not limited to, any loaded weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injury, may be discharged. (Government code section 1525.3(a)(1).) DOJ informed stakeholders statewide that a BB gun falls within this definition.
FOR ASSOCIATED VIDEO AND PHOTOGRAPH VISIT THE MONTEREY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S FACEBOOK PAGE.
Release Authorized by: A.C. Filice