Martinez, Calif. – The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office concludes that use of deadly force in the 2018 shooting of Salvador Morales, by Officer Kyle Baker, Sgt. Gabriel Palma, Sgt. William Hatcher, Sgt. Charles Blazer and Corporal Alex McCray was a lawful response, and was legally justified.
The DA’s Office released a public report about the shooting today.
On October 22, 2018, Morales took his wife and baby son hostage. A family member attempted to intervene in the situation, but Morales drew a handgun and shot him. Morales then fled the scene and kidnapped his wife and baby son at gunpoint. Pittsburg Police officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on his car, however, Morales refused to stop and led the officers on a 27-minute-high speed chase.
Morales eventually arrived at his residence and Pittsburg Police officers negotiated with Morales for over two hours in an effort to get him to surrender. Twice he walked out of the home pointing a handgun at his head. When he refused to comply with the officer’s orders to surrender, (name the officer) fired a non-lethal, beanbag round at him in the hope of getting Morales to surrender without using deadly force. Unfortunately, the beanbag round did not stop Morales. After he was hit with the beanbag round, Morales raised his firearm and fired one bullet towards the responding officers. In turn, officers returned fire and ultimately Morales succumbed to his gunshot wounds.
The release of this report is the first under a new policy for any officer-involved shooting that results in a fatality if the DA’s Office does not file criminal charges against an officer. The DA’s Office has never consistently released reports about fatal law enforcement incidents and has never released a comprehensive report of this kind.
A criminal prosecution of the involved officers would require proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers were not justified in using deadly force. The DA’s Office’s conclusion that under the circumstances presented to these officers in this case, a reasonable juror would not make such a finding.
The DA’s Office and every law enforcement agency in Contra Costa County has adopted the Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incidents Protocol (“the Protocol”) to investigate incidents when officers or civilians are shot or die during an encounter with law enforcement.
Under the Protocol, the DA’s Office investigates all officer-involved shootings in Contra Costa County for the purpose of making an independent determination of criminal liability. The sole purpose of the District Attorney investigation is to determine if there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a law enforcement official committed a crime in connection with the shooting.
The OIS public report is available on the District Attorney’s website.
Note – information above provided by Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office
Editors Note — here is the Pittsburg Police Press Release which also included the release of video of police body cam
The following was released today by the Pittsburg Police Department regarding an incident earlier this week where officers shot and killed a man.
Police released body cam video and identified the male shot and killed as Salvador Morals, 37 of Pittsburg.
Just after the 3-minute mark is when the shots are fired.
Here is the Press Release from Pittsburg Police
The Pittsburg Police Department, after notification of family, can now release the name of the man involved in Monday’s officer involved shooting as 37-year-old Salvador Morales of Pittsburg.
In addition, pursuant to Pittsburg Police policy, we have decided to release officers’ body worn camera footage and in-car video of the incident in an effort to foster transparency and trust with our community. While audio was captured, the body worn cameras do not show Mr. Morales at the moment of the shooting due the orientation of those cameras. The in-car video does depict Mr. Morales’ actions just prior to the shooting.
A link to the video can be found at the end of this release.
On October 22, 2018, Pittsburg Police Officers were called to a residence in the 100 block of Carolyn Drive in regards to a domestic incident. Prior to arriving at the house officers were informed an estranged husband, later identified as Mr. Morales, arrived at the home and held his wife and baby at gun point. A family member attempted to intervene when Morales fired the gun, striking the family member in the neck. That family member suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Morales then forced his wife and baby into his vehicle and drove away from the scene.
Pittsburg Officers found the car and pursued it west into the city of Concord and ultimately back into the city of Pittsburg. Morales then stopped the vehicle in front of a home in the 100 block of West 10th Street. As he exited the car with the gun, his wife was able to run and carry her baby to the safety of nearby officers. Morales ran into the residence and barricaded himself inside. The Pittsburg Police Department tactical unit and Crisis Negotiation Team arrived on scene and continued communication with Morales, requesting he exit the house without the gun.
During the communication Morales walked to the front door of the house several times with the gun. After a period of time he walked out of the house and into the driveway. He was still in possession of the gun, and did not comply with the officers’ commands to put the gun down. A less-lethal projectile was discharged towards Morales in an attempt to detain him. He then raised the gun and fired towards officers.
Officers returned fire and Morales was struck. Officers immediately removed the gun from his possession and administered first aid until an ambulance arrived. He died at John Muir Hospital.
Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult and tragic situation.
All of the officers involved in the incident are members of the Pittsburg Police Department S.W.A.T. team: Sergeant William Hatcher (13-year police veteran), Sergeant Gabriel Palma (14-year police veteran), Acting Sergeant Charles Blazer (21-year police veteran), and Corporal Alex McCray (8-year police veteran).
The Contra Costa County Officer Involved Fatal Incident Protocol was enacted and the Pittsburg Police Department has entered a joint investigation with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. Through this investigation it was determined officers fire one less-lethal round, Morales fired one round at officers and officers returned fire with eight rounds. This is still an active investigation.