VISTA, Calif. -- A number of people protested in Vista Saturday afternoon in honor of two men who were shot by the same San Diego County Sheriff's deputy.
With signs held high, they marched along busy roadways.
“Today we’re trying to put the word out about police brutality,” said Diego Coronel.
Diego is the uncle of Jonathon Coronel, who was shot multiple times after running from deputies when they tried to pull him over.
Deputies caught up to him in someone's yard. Investigators said Jonathon, a documented gang member, turned toward the deputy and raised his concealed hand. Fearing for his life, the Sheriff's department said the deputy fired his weapon.
“My nephew was on the ground, facing down already surrendered, which the owner of the house already had a citizen's arrest already on him on the ground with his hands behind his back, on his head, with his shirt wrapped around his hand,” Diego said.
The Sheriff's department confirmed Jonathon did not have any weapons on him at the time of the shooting, which is still under investigation.
“Sixteen shots in the back,” Diego said. “It’s just inhumane to me. You don’t kill an animal like that neither. It only takes a couple of bullets to drop down an animal, but look, my nephew 16 times in the back while he was surrendering."
Sheriff's officials identified Christopher Villanueva as the deputy who shot and killed Coronel.
A lieutenant said Villanueva had been told that Jonathon was known to have a handgun and that he had made previous threats to kill law enforcement officers.
The Sheriff's department also confirmed Villanueva is the same deputy who was cleared, along with another deputy, in the shooting death of Sergio Weick. Weick was also a documented gang member.
Protestors said they are taking small steps to solve a bigger issue they say is beyond race.
“It’s brutality what the officers are using against the community. Not just right here in Vista, it’s happening all over the nation, but my point is that police brutality needs to stop because it’s not the first time a citizen dies at the hands of police and it’s not going to be the last,” Diego said.
In a statement sent to FOX 5, Sheriff's officials said some protesters vandalized property and started fights with bystanders:
"While the San Diego County Sheriff's Department empathizes with the family and friends of Jonathon Coronel for their loss, we also have a duty to ensure all residents can use the public roadways and sidewalks safely and without fear. It is always our goal to protect the free-speech rights of citizens and the safety of the community in general.
Unfortunately, while prior demonstrations have been peaceful and respectful towards the community, some members of today's protest vandalized property and initiated physical fights with uninvolved citizens who happened to be in the area. These criminal actions disrupted traffic flow and diverted crucial public safety services away from Vista and adjoining cities. The Sheriff's Department will investigate the crimes committed today and the appropriate follow-up action to identify and arrest those involved will be taken. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Department at (858) 565-5200."