Key Evidence From Sean Monterrosa Police Shooting Destroyed, FBI Asked to Investigate

Officials in the California city of Vallejo have confirmed that a key piece of evidence in an investigation into the shooting of 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa by police has been destroyed.

The city discovered that the windshield from the Vallejo Police vehicle involved in the June 2 killing of Monterrosa was destroyed and the unmarked vehicle placed back into service "without prior consultation with the Police Chief or City Attorney's Office."

Officials have said they have asked the FBI or another agency to take over the investigation into the officer-involved shooting and that destruction of evidence now form part of the criminal inquiry.

The City of Vallejo had previously requested that the Solano County District Attorney's Office or Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office conduct the criminal investigation.

Monterrosa was shot by a Vallejo police officer who was responding to reports of looting at a Walgreens in the early hours of June 2. When police arrived at the scene, officers found around 10 to 12 suspected looters at the Walgreens parking lot, including Monterrosa.

The officer, who has not been named, fired five times through his windshield after believing the 22-year-old had a gun and was ready to fire at them.

It was later found that Monterrosa was in possession of a 15-inch hammer, which the officer thought was a gun.

One City of Vallejo employee has since been placed on administrative leave after the destruction of the windshield was discovered.

"You don't have to be an expert, or a police officer, or a crime scene analyst, to know that a bullet-ridden windshield is evidence," Melissa Nold, one of the attorneys representing Monterrosa's family, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

"So, to have that discarded, it reeks of what either has to be corruption or somebody being completely inept, and I don't know which is worse.

"This is evidence in a homicide case. It should have been preserved in whole, but at the very bare, bare minimum, certainly the windshield itself."

On July 8, bodycam footage of the shooting on the 1000 Block of Redwood Street was made public so City officials could help clarify the "widely inconsistent" reporting on what had occurred.

In a statement last week, officials said the windshield from the shooting had been "collected and preserved" while confirming that the vehicle has since been repaired and placed back in service.

Vallejo Police also assured that shooting through a window or barrier is a technique officers train for in preparation for an encounter with an armed subject.

"As a result, our officers have been trained in this tactic through advanced officer training," the force added in a statement.

The officer, who has not been named, has been placed on routine, paid administrative leave while investigations into the shooting are being conducted.

The Vallejo Police department has been contacted for further comment.

Vallejo
A Vallejo Police Department detective works on his computer at the police headquarters May 7, 2008 in Vallejo, California. The Vallejo Police Department is under investigation after evidence in the Sean Monterrosa shooting investigation was destroyed. Justin Sullivan/Getty