SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego Police have released body camera and helicopter footage of the events leading up to a fatal officer-involved shooting in the Talmadge area last month.
In the footage, officers are seen chasing the suspect, identified as 22-year-old Jesus Salvador Valeta, on July 23 just after 9 p.m. after he fled a vehicle near 54th Street and El Cajon Boulevard that was being pursued by police.
The foot pursuit took the officers to a nearby fast-food restaurant at the corner of El Cajon Blvd. and Marcellena Rd. before the shooting occurred behind the restaurant, feet away from vehicles waiting in the drive-thru line.
During the chase, police said Valeta had a gun in his hand and refused multiple commands to drop the weapon.
When the chase made its way into the drive-thru area of the restaurant, police said that Valeta tripped and dropped the handgun, before picking it back up and continuing to flee.
According to officers, Valeta was in the back of the restaurant when he fell again and, "he made a backwards motion with his arm with the gun in his hand," as he was on his knees and facing away from officers.
That's when two officers fired their service weapons and then Valeta threw the gun in front of him, police said.
Valeta was taken to a nearby hospital where he died of his injuries.
Outside of the restaurant where the shooting took place, is a shrine that was created by Valeta's family and friends. On Monday, his uncle, Ignacio Gutierrez shared in Spanish, that his family is still trying to understand how this could have happened to their beloved 'Chuyito'.
He furthers that he and his family do not believe the shooting was justifiable, as his nephew was shot in the back while on his knees.
Police expert Kevin LaChapelle says it all depends on the given circumstance, "The scariest part is when someone drops a gun, if they are not intending to use it, they will generally will run and leave the gun. When they pick it back up, twice, now you are really concerned. Because now you are thinking that there is an intent for them to use that against the officers."
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SDPD said investigators found that the "trigger on the gun had been pulled and there was a round in the chamber that didn't fire." Police, however, didn't say if they believed that the trigger had been pulled during the chase or prior.
Three other people who remained in the vehicle were arrested at the scene, police added. In the vehicle, officers said they found two unregistered "ghost guns" as well.
The chase began after officers were called to the 5900 block of University Avenue after receiving reports of a shooting in the area. SDPD officers arrived to find a 29-year-old man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to a nearby hospital and lasted listed in stable condition.
Witnesses at the scene gave officers a vehicle description, which was used to find the suspected vehicle traveling in the Talmadge area, according to SDPD.
After officers tried to stop the vehicle, that's when the foot pursuit involving Valeta began.
The men arrested are believed to have been involved in a shooting earlier the same day at Belmont Park, according to SDPD.
The two officers involved were not injured in the shooting.
The department said it has started the investigation and review process for the shooting and the SDPD Homicide Unit, Internal Affairs, Shooting Review Board, San Diego County District Attorney's Office, and the city's Commission on Police Practices will all be a part of the investigation. The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office will also monitor the process.
Valeta's family says that they will also be investigating this matter. They have also set up a GoFundme for funeral and service arrangements.
If anyone has any information regarding the shooting or events leading up to it, they are asked to call SDPD's Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.