Deputies confront a man armed with a sawed-off shotgun and using his girlfriend as a shield. - PHOTO: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies confront a man armed with a sawed-off shotgun and using his girlfriend as a shield.

PHOTO: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office released video from an Oct. 18 officer-involved shooting in which deputies mortally wounded a man armed with a sawed-off shotgun and using his girlfriend as a human shield. Deputies involved are part of the department’s Special Enforcement Detail.

The critical incident briefing from the department shows the shooting from the vantage points of a departmental drone and two deputies’  body-worn cameras (BWCs).

Lt. Rod Grassmann, spokesman for the department, narrates the critical incident briefing video and explains how dispatchers received a call reporting a man had just assaulted his girlfriend and threatened the caller, her boyfriend, and her 3-year-old child with a shotgun after accusing her of calling 9-1-1.  All three of them were able to escape the residence leaving her dad and dad’s girlfriend inside. 

The reporting party advised that after returning home from taking her older child to school, she was awakened by arguing between her father and his girlfriend.  His girlfriend was crying loudly so she thought her dad hit her.  She stated that her dad was likely intoxicated and under the influence of methamphetamines, explains Grassmann.

Deputies contacted the subject’s girlfriend via telephone.  She confirmed that the subject was with her inside the residence armed with a shotgun and would not allow her to leave.  Deputies could hear the subject in the background yelling and demanding cigarettes. 

The Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Detail and Critical Incident Negotiations Team were requested and arrived a short time later.  They set up in front of the residence and began evacuating adjacent apartments. 

Deputies also contacted the suspect’s daughter who related that she was on the phone with her father, and he was threatening to shoot his girlfriend.  At that time, the negotiators used her phone to continue communications with the subject. 

“He was defiant and told negotiators he was armed with a sawed-off shotgun and a 9mm handgun and that he was going to shoot a deputy and his girlfriend in three minutes,” explains Grassman.

At one point, the subject told officers that he could see them and could kill them at any time. Deputies later learned he had one round of birdshot chambered in the shotgun and three additional rounds of buckshot in the tube.

The sheriff's department reports the shotgun was loaded with one round of birdshot and three more rounds of buckshot. - PHOTO: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office

The sheriff's department reports the shotgun was loaded with one round of birdshot and three more rounds of buckshot.

PHOTO: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office

A short time later, the subject opened the door and stepped out of his residence holding a shotgun in his right hand and guiding his girlfriend out as a shield.  Due to concern for the victim’s and deputies’ safety, two deputies fired their duty weapons striking the suspect causing him to fall to the ground.  Officers rescued the victim, brought her to safety and immediately rendered medical aid to the suspect.  The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Grassmann identified the deceased man as 55-year-old Vincent Martinez and said he had a 37-year criminal history dating back to 1985.

Both deputies who fired on Martinez are part of the SED team, he explains.

“The first deputy, who fired one round is a 13-year veteran of law enforcement, who has been employed by the sheriff's office since April of 2015. He has worked a variety of assignments including corrections patrol, and SED for the last four-and-a-half-years,” says Grassman in the video. “The second deputy who fired five shots, is a seven-and-a-half-year veteran of law enforcement and has been with the Sacramento County Sheriff's office since February of 2015. He has also previously worked corrections patrol and joined the SED team in June of 2021.”

The investigation into the incident will be conducted by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and Professional Standards Division, which is standard practice for any officer-involved shooting that occurs in the Sheriff’s Office’s jurisdiction.  Independent review of the officer-involved shooting will be conducted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and the Inspector General.

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