Vallejo officers 'justified' in first of 6 deadly shootings in 2012
Posted in the Martinez Forum
#1 Mar 22, 2013
Vallejo officers 'justified' in first of 6 deadly shootings in 2012, probe finds
Two Vallejo police officers were deemed justified in killing what turned out to be a heavily intoxicated man last May after he brandished a fake gun on Sonoma Boulevard, the Times-Herald learned Thursday.
Following a review of the officer-involved shooting, Solano County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeff Kauffman concluded that officers Joseph McCarthy and Jason Bauer were "completely lawful" in their actions.
The incident was the first of six fatal officer-involved shootings in Vallejo last year. The other cases remain under review.
On May 24, 2012, just before midnight, the officers responded to the area of Georgia Street and Sonoma Boulevard in Vallejo upon receiving a report of a man who had brandished a handgun. Two civilians directed the officers to the man, who was described as wearing a dark trench coat.
The suspect, later identified as 53-year-old Peter Mestler, was later observed by both officers reaching into his jacket pocket with his left hand. They ordered him to stop, but police say he ignored their commands and continued walking away from the officers.
Officer McCarthy then saw Mestler pulling at his pocket like he was reaching for a firearm, authorities said. The officer yelled twice, "Don't do it!" which police say was overheard by his partner. Both officers then saw Mestler remove from his pocket what appeared to be a dark, semi-automatic handgun, which was later determined to be a replica Beretta Cougar.
Both officers, who said they feared for their lives, fired their guns at Mestler, who was struck and later pronounced dead.
Prior to the officers' arrival, Mestler had pointed the imitation firearm at two civilians, who both told police they believed it to be a real handgun. A third civilian, who witnessed Mestler point the firearm at one of the two civilians, also believed the firearm was real.
According to investigators, one of these civilians also overheard the officers issuing commands to Mestler prior the gunshots.
Toxicology tests later revealed that Mestler was extremely intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of .26 -- more than three times the legal limit for driving -- and that he had three different prescription medications in his systems. One of these medications, Oxycodone, was present at a nearly toxic level, authorities said.
"In conclusion, I specifically find that the actions of officers Joseph McCarthy and Jason Bauer were completely lawful and that there is no evidence that either of them committed any crime," Kauffman said in a Jan. 22 letter to Vallejo Police Chief Joseph Kreins. "They had no reason to believe that Mr. Mestler's firearm was anything but genuine and, due to Mr. Mestler's actions, no opportunity to make this determination before reacting to this threat."
Vallejo police detectives, criminal investigators from the district attorney's office and San Mateo County Crime Lab participated in the joint investigation.
Three other Vallejo fatal officer-involved shootings remain under review by the district attorney's office: Anton Barrett, 42, May 28; Marshall Tobin, 44, July 4; and Mario Romero, 23, Sept. 2.
Two more 2012 officer-involved shootings -- Jared Huey, 17, June 30; and Jeremiah Moore, 29, Oct. 21 -- will be reviewed by the district attorney's office upon receipt of the investigative reports from the Vallejo Police Department.
#2 Mar 22, 2013
Great. They all will be cleared. The sooner the better.
#3 Mar 22, 2013
yes, clean house of scum. every one of these basters was a problem, and now they aren't. tough shiddt.
#4 Mar 22, 2013
dopers, drunks, and other scumbags off the welfare rolls forever. think of the money saved by those who still work for it ! screw the do-gooder complainers and lawsuit hungry families looking to cash in on their loser lifestyle.
good job VPD and also good job review board !
#5 Mar 22, 2013
Cop watch is going to bust these rogue cops!
#6 Mar 22, 2013
No, its not. But they may provoke an outburst Sept 2nd when we clear the Romero shooting also. You do know that going to be cleared right?
#7 Mar 23, 2013
Keep up the great work VPD! To hell with Gomes, to hell with Garman, to hell with criminals!
#8 Mar 23, 2013
Great job VPD!!!! The cops should get medals for taking out the trash!!!!
#9 Mar 24, 2013
#10 Mar 24, 2013
yes, keep blasting criminals! we need less criminals, less vib, less weed shop identity, and more jobs!
#11 Mar 24, 2013
VIB is doing its part to promote a posative image for Vallejo by putting up on U Tube the Harlem Shake. Between that and 5 out of 6 charges being dropped against Shotwell we are on our way to recovery .... VIB style!
(If a home invasion results in a death and the perp is cleared on the 5 robbery counts but is prosecuted on the homicide is he/she a saint because 5 out of 6 ain't sounding too bad?) Still worth prosecuting?
#12 Mar 24, 2013
Five more "justified"s coming, the cop-hater VIB crybabies and Mitchell Mob can KMA.
#13 Mar 24, 2013
Just wait until the Romero shooting is cleared (of coarse it already is) the mau mau's will go crazy.
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