WARNING: The video below shows body camera recordings of police shooting a suspect during a recent incident. Some viewers may find it disturbing.
SAN DIEGO — Authorities Monday released body camera video of police fatally shooting an armed man behind a fast-food restaurant in San Diego’s Talmadge area.
Around 9 p.m. on July 23, San Diego police received a call about a shooting in the 5900 block of University Avenue in the El Cerrito neighborhood. Witnesses described the suspect vehicle and the direction it was headed to police.
Minutes later, a police helicopter spotted the car driving westbound on Dwight Street, police said. The helicopter crew directed officers to the car’s location at 54th Street and El Cajon Boulevard — about a mile northwest of the shooting.
In a compilation video police posted to YouTube, aerial footage from the helicopter shows a police cruiser following the car into the parking lot of a Grocery Outlet on 54th Street. When the car pulls into a parking spot, a man identified by police as 22-year-old Jesus Veleta gets out of a rear door and starts running with a gun in one hand, police said. He runs west on El Cajon Boulevard before crossing the street and entering the parking lot of a Yoshinoya fast-food restaurant. Veleta runs in a circle around the restaurant, passing cars in the drive-thru lane.
In the body camera video, officers chasing Veleta can be heard demanding him to stop and drop the gun.
“Don’t move! Get on the ground! Drop the gun, drop the gun, drop the gun!” one officer is heard saying as he chases Valeta through the drive-thru lane.
“Get on the ground! Get on the ground,” another officer is heard yelling.
At one point, Valeta trips and falls, dropping his gun. He then picks it up and starts running again. In an image from one officer’s body camera, police highlight Veleta’s finger on the trigger of the gun.
Veleta then runs onto a landscaped area behind the restaurant, where he stumbles again. Police say while Veleta was on the ground, he brought his arm backwards with the barrel of the gun pointing behind him, where officers were standing. That’s when two officers fired their weapons, and Veleta was struck at least once. Veleta then threw the gun in front of him, police said.
Valeta was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.
After investigators recovered Veleta’s handgun, they found that the trigger had been pulled and a round in the chamber didn’t fire, police said.
Officers arrested the three men who remained inside the car: 20-year-old Cesar Wojcik Ramirez, 22-year-old Zachariah Villalva and 23-year-old Angelo D’Shaun.
Inside the car, police found two more firearms. Those guns, along with the gun carried by Veleta, were what authorities call “ghost guns” because they’re assembled from parts and unserialized, making them impossible to trace, police said.
Police say the three men are suspected of being involved in a shooting earlier that day at Belmont Park.
On Friday, police identified the officers involved in the shooting as Gregory Bergman and Anthony Guerra, relatively new members of the department with about a year of service each.
The department’s homicide unit investigates all shootings involving officers, and that process will be followed by a review from the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.