Press Releases

Homicide--Shooting

On May 21, 2014 at 9:07 pm officers received a dispatch to the area of Del Monte Ave and Mae Ave regarding a victim of a shooting.  The initial dispatch indicated that there was a shooting victim down in the street after several gunshots were heard.  As officers arrived in the area to render aid to the victim and investigate the shooting, many people who had gathered in the area to protest started to throw bottles, sticks, rocks and bricks at the responding officers and the EMS personnel.  While an officer was conducting CPR on the shooting victim, a bottle hit the officer in the head preventing him from rendering aid to the victim while on scene.  The shooting victim was quickly taken away in an ambulance and to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.   The shooting victim was a local resident of the neighborhood who was standing on the sidewalk in front of his home.  The victim has been identified as Constantino Garcia (23) who had recently moved to Salinas with his wife and child.  At the time of the shooting it was estimated that there were approximately 100 people in the area presumably who witnessed the shooting.   At this time no witnesses have come forward to assist with the investigation.  Those who may have witnessed this incident are urged to contact Detective Zuniga or Detective Gonzalez of the Salinas Police Department Investigations Bureau at (831) 758-7929 or (831) 758-7127.  Those who wish to remain anonymous can call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at 831-775-4222 or the We-Tip-Line at 1-800-78-CRIME.

Introduction of Press Liason

Release Date/Time: 5/22/2014 5:50 PM

Incident:  Introduction of Press Liason

Date: Thursday, 5/22/2014

Time: 5:50 PM

Location:  Salinas Police Department

Spencer Critchley is our news media liaison. He is available to help with all inquiries at:

Phone (mobile):  831-998-3000

Email:   spencer.critchley@ci.salinas.ca.us

Release Authorized by:  Cdr. Dave Shaw

Telephone:  831-758-7271

Press Conference

Release Date/Time: 5/22/2014 5:46 PM

Incident:  Press Conference

Date: Thursday, 5/22/2014

Time: 5:46 PM

Location:  Salinas Police Department

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin Provides New Information on Officer-Involved Shooting 

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin today provided new information on the officer-involved shooting that occurred near the corner of Del Monte Avenue and N. Sanborn Road on May 20, 2014. 

Chief McMillin played audio of the 911 call related to the incident, as well as video from a security camera and a cell phone. 

At 12:14 pm on that day, two police officers responded to a 911 call from a woman who said a man was threatening her and trying to break into her house. The Chief identified the man as Carlos Mejia, 44. 

The woman said the man was threatening her with tijeras, which was translated from Spanish as "scissors," although the weapon turned out to be garden shears. The woman said the man, using a vulgarity, told her he wanted to have sex with her and exposed himself. She said he also grabbed her small dog and began choking it. 

The dispatcher advised that both the woman and the man were Spanish speakers, the responding officers called for an additional officer to serve as a translator. 

The officers made contact with Mr. Mejia and repeatedly ordered him in English and in Spanish to halt and drop the weapon. Brandishing the shears, he refused to comply. 

Both officers attempted to subdue him with their Tasers. The first Taser misfired. When the second one was fired, one of its contacts struck a telephone pole, rendering the shot ineffective. 

The officers followed Mr. Mejia, continuing to order him to drop the weapon. As he neared the corner of Del Monte and Sanborn, he planted a foot, turned and lunged at the nearest officer, with the shears raised. 

At that point the officers fired their pistols. Mr. Mejia died at the scene. 

Chief McMillin played unedited versions of the 911 call and the two pieces of video footage, and also took reporters through the videos in zoomed-in and slowed-down modes, in order to make visible additional details of the sequence of events. The audio and video files were made available to reporters.

The Chief described the sequence, noting that he was unable to characterize it due to pending litigation. In general, he said, police officers are trained to use the level of force needed to stop a violent suspect depending on whether or not he is armed, his proximity, whether or not he his attacking and other factors. 

He said he understood the deep concern and anger expressed by some members of the community, based on seeing a view of the shooting from across a street, as shown in the cell phone video. That video has been played on TV, the web and in social media. He said that while he was confident in the thoroughness and impartiality of the police department investigation that has begun, at the same time he wanted to take every measure to ensure trust in the process. 

He announced that there will be three independent reviews of the department's investigation. One will be performed by the Monterey County District Attorney as standard procedure. The second will be done by the FBI, in parallel with the DA's review. The FBI will then forward its review to the Office of Civil Rights at the US Department of Justice, for a third reviews. 

Chief McMillin was joined at the press conference by Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter, City Council Member Gloria de la Rosa and California Assembly member Luis Alejo. The three expressed confidence in the investigation under way and in the potential for communication at upcoming community meetings, while calling on residents to preserve peace and safety.

 

Release Authorized by:   Cdr. Dave Shaw

Telephone:  831-758-7271

MEDIA ADVISORY

Release Date/Time: 5/22/2014 1:15 PM

Incident:  MEDIA ADVISORY

Date: Thursday, 5/22/2014

Time: 1:15 PM

Location:  Salinas Police Department

Live Streaming Approved for May 22 Press Conference

In response to requests from several outlets, we have taken steps to allow for the live streaming of today's press conference by those outlets equipped to do that. The press conference will take place at 3:00 pm PDT in the Briefing Room at the Salinas Police Department, 222 Lincoln Ave, Salinas.

Release Authorized by:  Cdr. Dave Shaw

Telephone:  831-758-7271

Armed Robbery - Business

Release Date/Time: 5/22/2014 2:27 AM

Incident: Armed Robbery - Business

Report #: 14-051087

Date: Wednesday, 5/21/2014

Time: 8:58 PM

Location: Panda Express - 1570 Constitution Blvd

A Hispanic male in his 30's wearing all black with his hood covering his face entered the business with a small black semi-automatic handgun. The suspect demanded money from the clerk.  An undetermined amount of money was obtained.  The suspect tried to go out the back door but it was locked. He left through the side and fled on foot either North or South on Constitution Blvd.  The investigation is continuing.

Release Authorized by: Commander David Crabill

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Inciting a Riot, Resisting Arrest, and Probation Violation

Release Date/Time: 5/22/2014 1:18 AM

Incident: Inciting a Riot, Resisting Arrest, and Probation Violation

Report #: 14051089

Date: Wednesday, 5/21/2014

Time: 11:00 PM

Location: Del Monte Avenue / Mae Avenue

Diego Garcia (26) was in a crowd of demonstrators near the shooting scene at Del Monte Avenue and Mae Avenue. He taunted Officers, antagonized a Police K9, and moved through the crowd gathering followers. He was seen looking back into the crowd several times and encouraging others to join him. Garcia eventually approached a group of officers and began challenging them while taking a fighting stance. A Seaside Police Officer who responded to the scene to assist, took him into custody with assistance from Salinas Officers. He was lodged at the Monterey County Jail for inciting a riot, resisting arrest, and probation violation.

Release Authorized by: James Godwin

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

UPDATE ***Press Conference***

Live streaming will not be allowed at the 3:00PM press conference on 5-22-2014 in regards to the Officer Involved Shooting of 5-20-2014.  Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Office of the Chief during business hours.  SPD apologizes for any inconvenience.

Officer Involved Shooting--Update--Press Conference notification

Press Conference Notification:

A press conference in regards to the recent officer involved shooting that took place on Tuesday May 20, 2014 will be held on Thursday May 22 at 3:00 pm in the Salinas Police Department Briefing Room.  The media is advised to check in at the front desk of the police department whereby you will be escorted to the briefing room.

This press conference is not open to the public and only for authorized personnel and credentialed press personnel.  Please have your press credentials visible when you arrive.

Officer Involved Shooting

On 05-20-14 at 12:14pm Officers responded to a 911 call from a resident living on Elkington Ave. regarding a man trying to break into a home and threatening to kill the victim.   Initial information provided by the victim was a man armed with scissors had entered the victim's home and was making threats. It was also reported that the suspect tried to kill the victim's dog and had exposed his genitals in a sexually explicit manner and made sexually explicit and suggestive comments.  Witnesses verified the victim's account of what had occurred.

When Officers arrived on scene, they identified the suspect who was walking on Elkington Ave.  As they tried to contact the suspect, they noted that he had a large pair of gardening shears protruding from his backpack.   Despite numerous orders to stop and get down on the ground, the suspect failed to comply and continued to ignore simple commands.  At one point one Officer tried to use his taser on the suspect but it was ineffective.  The suspect continued to walk away.  These actions were observed by and reported to investigators by independent witnesses.

As the suspect continued to ignore the orders of the officers, the suspect retrieved the gardening shears from his backpack.  In an aggressive fashion, the suspect swung the gardening shears at the officers who were standing in close proximity and in danger of being stabbed or slashed. In response to this threat, two officers fired their weapons at the suspect.  Emergency medical services arrived shortly after the shooting and pronounced the suspect dead at the scene. 

The involved Officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues. The suspect's name is being withheld pending notification of family.

The Salinas Police Department is well aware of the concerns raised by the community in regards to this and other officer-involved shootings.  We take the investigation of any act causing loss of life to be one of our most important responsibilities.  We ask the community to be patient and remain calm until enough facts are known so that a conclusion as to the appropriateness of the officers' actions can be determined. At this time evidence is being collected, video evidence is being evaluated, interviews are being conducted and a thorough investigation is underway.  Further information will be provided to the public as the investigation proceeds.

All media contacts should be directed to Commander Vincent Maiorana at 831-758-7350

Those who may have witnessed this incident, and who have not already spoken to police, are urged to contact Detective Currier or Detective Poulin of the Salinas Police Department Investigations Bureau at (831) 758-7125 or (831) 758-7270.  Those who wish to remain anonymous can call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at 831-775-4222 or the We-Tip-Line at 1-800-78-CRIME.

Attempted Homicide

Release Date/Time: 5/18/2014 3:12 AM

Incident: Attempted Homicide

Report #: 14-050885

Date: Saturday, 5/17/2014

Time: 11:29 PM

Location: P/L of 1138 Pacific Ave.

Officers responed to a victim of a shooting.  They found Yoni Zavala Medina (32)  in the carport.  He was unconscious and suffering from multiple gunshots. Medina was with several friends and relatives, eating and drinking beer while listening to music. The group was approached by two hispanic males who each produced a handgun and began shooting and striking only Medina. Medina was initially transported to Natividad Medical Center where he was stabilized and then flown to a bay area hospital where his condition is critical.  It is unknown if the motivation for the shooting is gang related. 

The Salinas Police Department is asking that anyone who may have information in reference to this shooting to please call Detective Roman at 758-7913. 

Release Authorized by: Sergeant Jeff Gibson

Telephone: (831) 758-7128

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