Vallejo police under fire for shootings


Lethal force. Hopefully a police officer’s last resort in protecting the community and themselves.

Some officers go an entire career without firing their service weapons while on duty.

Others, like two Vallejo police officers on patrol early Sunday morning, end up using their weapons to deliver lethal force upon suspects who turn out to pose no lethal threat themselves.

23-year-old Mario Ramiro was shot dead while another, Joseph Johnson, 21, was sent to the hospital when a overnight suspicious vehicle check in Vallejo turned into a barrage of bullets — all from police.

Vallejo police told the Vallejo-Times Herald officers began shooting after Ramiro, the car’s driver, brandished what turned out to be a toy gun after getting out of the car.

Ramiro’s sister, Cynquita Martin, told KTVU that one officer jumped on the car’s hood and fired into the car repeatedly:

“They reloaded in front of me, stood on the roof of the car and shot him and shot and shot, they shot at least six to eight times.”

Police said at least 30 rounds were fired. When the shooting stopped, Ramiro lay mortally wounded and Johnson was also hit. Ramiro was pronounced dead at Vallejo’s Kaiser campus. Johnson underwent surgery after being shot five times, KTVU reported.

Dozens of residents — including Ramiro’s mother, Cynthia, came together in a Vallejo park Sunday to express outrage over the killing:

“They shot him. They didn’t just shoot him once, they execution-styled him. … He was sitting in front of his house.”

Both men were on felony probation for weapons violations, police told the Times-Herald. The pellet gun and 50 ecstasy tablets were also recovered, police said.

Vallejo has suffered a rash of officer-involved shootings in recent months, with seven shootings and five fatalities. Police say an officer-involved shooting in May was also brought on by a replica gun being pulled on officers.

The two officers in Sunday’s shooting are on paid administrative leave while the Solano County district attorney investigates.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as assistant professor at San Francisco State University.

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