Drone video shows police fatally shoot California man who pointed BB gun at officer

Drone video captured the moment police fatally shot a California man after he pointed a gun at an officer — a weapon that turned out to be a “real-looking” BB gun, authorities said.

The man, Gerardo Martinez, 19, was fatally shot by Salinas Police Officer Mario Reyes on Friday night, Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni said in a statement.

A neighbor called 911 and reported that Martinez had aimed a handgun at him about five minutes earlier, officials said.

“He pointed it at us and he’s really drunk right now,” the neighbor said, according to the statement released Monday. “I need an officer over here A-S-A-P.”

Gerardo Martinez was fatally shot by Salinas police Friday after he pointed a “real-looking” BB gun at an officer, authorities said. Monterey County DA’s Office

The neighbor said the handgun might be a BB gun, “but who knows,” officials said. The 911 caller also remarked that the weapon could be a small-caliber pistol, the statement said.

The neighbor said he believed Martinez was also “under the influence of methamphetamine” and told 911 dispatch that Martinez had attacked and vandalized his property before, Pacioni’s statement said.

The first officer arrived at 8:07 p.m., six minutes after the neighbor called 911, officials said. More officers arrived shortly thereafter.

All officers wore clearly marked uniforms, Pacioni’s statement said, and by 8:35 p.m., officers had positioned two fully marked patrol vehicles about 50 feet from Martinez’s home. Reyes had positioned himself with a patrol rifle about 50 feet from Martinez’s home.

Martinez partly exited through a side door about 8:36 p.m., the statement said. Officers commanded him in Spanish to come out with his hands up. Martinez exited through the side door several more times as officers issued commands, officials said.

At 8:37 p.m., Martinez exited through the door and pointed a weapon at Reyes.

“In response, Officer Reyes fired three rounds from his patrol rifle. At least one round struck Mr. Martinez in the torso,” officials said.

Officers recovered what they described as a “real-looking, black BB gun next to Martinez.”

Martinez’s family could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Salinas police referred all questions to Pacioni’s office, which did not return multiple requests for comment.

Before the shooting, authorities used a drone as overhead surveillance. A less-than-2-minute drone video provided by Pacioni’s office shows Martinez open and exit through the home’s side door four times. There is no audio.

The third time Martinez opens the door, according to the video, he leaves it open, briefly steps inside, grabs the BB gun in his right hand and points it out the door frame before he steps inside again.

He opens the door a fourth and final time, the video shows, with the gun in his right hand in a pointed position. That is when he is shot. The video shows Martinez clutching his stomach as he falls onto his back into the entryway.

Pacioni’s statement said that in September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill requiring the state Justice Department to investigate fatal police shootings of unarmed civilians. However, the Justice Department “declined to investigate this shooting because Mr. Martinez was armed according to DOJ’s interpretation of the statute,” it said.

Prosecutors said the law defines a deadly weapon to include, but is not limited to, any loaded weapon from which a shot can result in death or other physical injury, officials said.

Antonio Planas

Antonio Planas is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital. 

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