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Santa Maria Police release dash cam video of June 21 officer-involved shooting
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Santa Maria Police release dash cam video of June 21 officer-involved shooting

From the What you need to know for Wednesday, September 2 series
  • Updated

Santa Maria Police on Tuesday released dash cam video footage of a June 21 officer-involved shooting that injured one man near the corner of North Broadway and North Preisker Lane. 

The shooting occurred after Santa Maria Police responded to a 911 call reporting a man, identified as 32-year-old Domingo Perez Montejo of Santa Maria, waving a gun at Boomers! miniature golf in the 2200 block of North Preisker Lane shortly before 1 p.m.

Montejo was located near Broadway and North Preisker Lane by Santa Maria Police Officer Ethan Brown, who shot Montejo after he brandished a pistol at the officer. The gun was later determined to be a replica 9-millimeter Beretta pistol.

Montejo was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center, where he was treated for nonlife-threatening injuries, according to Police Chief Phil Hansen. 

Footage of the incident was included in a critical incident community briefing video, compiled by the Santa Maria Police Department in an effort to be more transparent about use-of-force incidents. Released in both English and Spanish versions, Hansen details the sequence of events surrounding the shooting. 

In the video, which also includes the recorded 911 call, the dash cam shows Brown's cruiser pulling up to the corner of Broadway and North Preisker, near Wendy's, where Montejo is standing on the sidewalk. 

Brown yells more than 20 commands to Montejo, in English and Spanish, including orders to lay down and drop the gun. 

"Lay down, you will be shot! Get on the ground!" Brown yells to Montejo, who ignores the commands. "Let go, drop the gun! Do not grab the gun!"

Montejo appears to grab a pistol from his waistband with this left hand and raises it at Brown, who fires two shots. Montejo drops the gun as soon as he is struck by bullets and is seen clutching his midsection in pain. 

First responders, including Santa Maria Fire personnel, are seen treating Montejo for his injuries in the video, which also shows a side-by-side comparison of the replica Beretta recovered at the scene to a real one. 

The shooting is under investigation by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's and District Attorney's offices. 

Santa Maria Police will review their response to the incident to determine whether deadly force used in the incident adhered to department policy, but won't make any conclusions until the investigations are completed, Hansen added. 

"It's a tragedy whenever there's an officer-involved shooting," Hansen said in the video, "for those involved, for the officer, for the police department and for our community."

He added, "Our command staff and use-of-force committee will review every aspect of our response as part of our continuous effort to improve." 

Following the shooting, Hansen said the Santa Maria Police have collaborated with the Sheriff's Office Behavioral Sciences Unit to provide Montejo with "much-needed" mental health services. 

Police have contacted Montejo 26 times since 2016. This January, residents in the 200 block of East Orchard Street called 911 to report him holding a gun that turned out to be an imitation "machine pistol," according to Sgt. Felix Diaz. In that incident, however, dash cam footage showed Montejo immediately dropping the weapon after police arrived. 

Hansen said use-of-force incidents in Santa Maria are "extremely rare," citing three officer-involved shootings out of more than 380,000 calls for service since 2016. 

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