The Modesto Police Department on Tuesday released a body camera video that showed an officer shooting and killing an unarmed California man last week.
Trevor Seever, 29, was shot on Dec. 29 outside the Modesto Church of the Brethren in Modesto by an officer who was responding to a 911 call by the victim’s sister. According to Brandon Gillespie, the interim chief of the police department, Mr. Seever sent their mother a threatening text message after purchasing a gun the night before the fatal shooting.
Footage of the incident showed Modesto officer Joseph Lamantia exiting a police car and running closer to the victim. The officer ordered Seever to put his hands up, which he was shown doing.
“I don’t have a weapon,” Seever told the police officer.
Officer Lamantia then ordered him to put his hands up two more times before firing three shots in quick succession. The video captured Seever, who was white, crying out and falling to the ground.
The officer reportedly believed Seever was armed. Lamantia waited for backup to arrive before performing first aid. He was later taken to the hospital where he died due to the injuries. Lamantia has since been placed on paid leave while the department is investigating the fatal shooting.
In 2010, Officer Lamantia and another officer shot and killed 45-year-old Francisco Moran. Both officers were responding to reports that the victim had been carrying a knife. Investigations later showed that he was carrying a metal spatula.
In 2016, Lamantia fatally shot Omar Villagomez, a suspect in a drug bust in Turlock. According to police reports, Villagomez slammed into an undercover vehicle while trying to escape.
Investigations for both cases found Officer Lamantia’s actions to be justified, according to Modesto Police Department spokeswoman Sharon bear.