MODESTO – A demonstration was held Saturday in protest against the Modesto Police Officer involved in the shooting death of a man on December 29th.
About 100 or so people gathered in front of the police department near the intersection of 10th and G Streets at about 11:00am. Many held signs urging justice for Trevor Seever, who was 29 years old. Seever was shot by Joseph Lamantia, who has been an officer with the department for 12 years. Many in attendance voiced their criticism against Lamantia, who was previously involved in several other shootings during his time at the department.
Police responded to the 2300 block of Woodland Avenue in Modesto on the day of occurrence, after receiving a 911 call from relatives of Seever’s. The 911 call was made by Seever’s sister, and released in a video by the Modesto Police Department. The recording indicated that Seever had purchased a firearm the night before, and had made vague threats toward his relatives. According to a press release by the Modesto Police Department, Seever had send text messages to his family indicating he was on his way to their home.
In a video briefing posted to the department’s YouTube channel, Interim Police Chief Brandon Gillespie stated that officers had previous contact with Seever, who had made anti-law enforcement posts to his social media accounts earlier in the month. This prompted safety bulletins to be distributed to responding officers.
Lamantia was first to arrive in the area and located Seever at the Modesto Church of the Brethren on Woodland Avenue. Bodycam video released by the department shows the officer with his gun already in hand before exiting his vehicle and firing his gun at Seever less than ten seconds after he spotted the individual. It is unclear what Seever was doing at the church before he was located, but relatives on Saturday stated he was sitting on a bench.
Within those ten seconds, Lamantia broadcasted over his radio that he was engaging in a foot pursuit and shouted for Seever to get on the ground twice before opening fire. Four shots were fired at Seever, who was near the northwest corner of a building at the church complex approaching a parking lot. The unclear video appears to show Seever attempting to run away.
Lamantia advanced and ordered Seever to show his hands after broadcasting he had fired his weapon. In the background, Seever can be seen with his hands raised. The officer then provided his location to dispatch as Seever can be seen moving his right arm in the background. It is unclear if he was holding onto something to maintain balance, however his left arm can still be seen raised as Lamantia fires his weapon again. At this point in the video, Seever falls over screaming in pain. The officer then advances to cover behind a tree.
Seever was provided aid by officers and rushed to a hospital, but he later died. Officers were unable to find a weapon at the scene.
“I haven’t even watched the whole thing,” said Katrina Rodriguez in regard to the police video. “It’s ridiculous to see how destructive and horrific he went in with the intent to kill my cousin.”
Although she described the body cam video as difficult to watch, Rodriguez said she and her family are glad that it exists.
“How many people were shot and killed without a bodycam? Thankfully we got to see the bodycam, but how many didn’t have that?” Rodriguez said her family believes the video is vital evidence that can potentially shed light on her cousin’s case. She questioned why the officer was allowed to remain on the force given his history.
Lamantia was involved in several other shootings, some of them fatal. On September 6th 2010, Francisco Moran was shot and killed after police responded to a disturbance. It was believed Moran was armed with a knife, but it was later determined to be a spatula. In June of 2016, Lamantia was involved in a shooting during a narcotics operation that killed 21 year old Omar Villagomez in Turlock. The shooting happened near the Starbucks at West Main Street and Highway 99. Later that year on October 8th, Lamantia would also be involved in a shooting that killed Kim Jackson. Jackson, a 53 year old woman, was armed with knives and charged officers during that incident according to a press release. On October 20th 2020, Lamantia was involved in the shooting of double homicide suspect David Cummings Jr. in Stockton. He survived that shooting and is currently awaiting trial.
“It sucks that it has to be this way,” Seever’s cousin continued. “Maybe it’s all for a reason. Maybe they will finally see the consequences.”
The group left signs and posters on the steps and memorial statue at the police department. Some notes had expletives directed toward the officer, while others asked for justice in the loss of their relative.
Rodriguez said her family was looking into legislation like Assembly Bill 392 which redefines the circumstances in which deadly use of force by police is justifiable. Under that law, deadly force can only be used when defending against imminent threat to life or bodily injury, or to apprehend a fleeing suspect when the officer believes they will cause serious injury or death unless immediately apprehended.
Seever’s loved ones said no matter the circumstances, they did not anticipate his death to be an outcome and believe he could still be alive had a different officer responded first.
“You do not get to choose who lives or dies because you want to be the savior of the day,” Rodriguez added.
Police Shooting Investigated in West Modesto
MODESTO – An officer involved shooting closed down a shopping center near a busy intersection early Tuesday morning.
The incident happened shortly before 1:00am near the intersection of South Martin Luther King Drive and Paradise Road. A police press release stated the shooting occurred when police encountered an armed person during a traffic stop. The suspect was taken to a hospital for treatment of the gunshot wound and was expected to survive. A firearm was recovered at the scene, and no officers were injured.
South Martin Luther King Drive was closed to traffic near the area where the shooting happened. The shooting appeared to have happened in a parking lot just east of the roadway near a Jack in the Box restaurant. A white car was examined by investigators in the parking lot, with police cars behind it.
The area was cleared and re-opened shortly before 9:00am.
Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Modesto Police or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.
Woman Stabbed, Knife Wielding Man Shot by Police
STOCKTON – Authorities with Stockton Police conducted an investigation Sunday night following a stabbing and officer involved shooting.
At about 8:00pm police officers responded to the 1600 block of East Bianchi Road for a report of a disturbance involving a man armed with a knife. Arriving officers located the suspect, and moments later shots were fired by police.
A woman was also found suffering from at least one stab wound. Both the victim and suspect were taken to a hospital for treatment. As of Sunday night their conditions were unknown. No other injuries were reported.
The area was closed off by police for several hours for the investigation. No further details were released at time of publication.
This was the second officer involved shooting over the weekend in Stockton. On Saturday morning, police responded to an apartment complex on 11th Street for a report of a man who threatened to stab a woman. That suspect was shot. The woman suffered multiple stab wounds. Both were taken to a hospital. Several children in the apartment were unharmed.
Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Stockton Police Department or Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600 where callers can remain anonymous.
Police Shoot Man Who Threatened to Stab Woman
STOCKTON – Two people were rushed to a hospital Saturday morning following a violent confrontation.
At about 9:00am police officers were called to an apartment complex on the 1500 block of East 11th Street. Early indications suggest officers were responding to a report of a man armed with a knife.
The person calling for help was a child of the man and woman involved, and said their dad was threatening to stab their mom. Arriving officers located the suspect and a shooting occurred. The involved woman was also found with stab wounds. Both were transported to a hospital with injuries and as of this publication, their conditions were unknown.
Residents in the area were shocked at the incident. One man who declined to provide his name and lived across the street said that the neighborhood and apartment complex is relatively calm, and that most people who lived around him are respectful of each other. He was taking a shower and heard three or four gunshots, and a large amount of sirens shortly after. The incident came as a surprise and felt very out of place to him.
Other residents who lived a block to the east said they heard the commotion. One woman said she heard shouting for someone to get on the ground along with three or four gunshots.
Kya Lewis lives across the street and said her and her neighbors watched the incident unfold from their apartment windows. She said she saw officers arrive and rush to the apartment in question followed by gunshots shortly after.
A video Lewis provided showed the aftermath shortly after the shooting occurred. Two officers tended to a man and woman on the front doorstep of the apartment. Both appeared to be significantly bleeding. A second video recording shows both persons being wheeled away by paramedics, while officers spoke with witnesses.
Several neighbors expressed concern for the children in the apartment noting several lived there.
Police taped off the entire block of the complex, and closed roadways leading up to the area.
No further details were released Saturday afternoon.
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