By Seth Daniel and Joe Domelowicz Jr.
A video from a private security camera shows – in the distance – an Everett Police officer, with his gun drawn, backing away quickly into the middle of Everett Square as a man chases him, with the officer suddenly shooting the man when he gets within a few feet of him.
That came as official City video of the incident in Everett Square was virtually useless due to the fact that technical problems made the video skip and prevented it from recording the actual shooting.
According to the technology company that services the cameras operated by the City of Everett, the gaps in the recordings are likely caused by limited bandwidth capability and environmental interference.
Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan this week released the video recordings, the 9-1-1 call and radio transmissions from the incident that occurred on April 21, 2016 when Mario Mejia Martinez, 48, of Everett, was fatally shot by Everett Police who responded to a 9-1-1 report of a man who was harassing pedestrians in front of 432 Broadway Street in Everett.
The District Attorneys Office was careful to say that the investigation into the shooting is on-going, but said they wanted to give the public access to “preliminary facts, while we continue to conduct a full, fir and thorough investigation into this matter.”
“The day after the shooting, detectives spoke to the brother of the deceased and gave him an opportunity to view videos of the incident taken by cameras owned by the City of Everett,” said DA Ryan. “At that time information was provided that the deceased had a wife and children in El Salvador. Through the family’s lawyer, the DA’s Office made the family aware of the videos and showed the footage from April 21 to family representatives. At this point in the investigation we have also completed interviews of all known witnesses.”
Police Chief Steve Mazzie declined to comment on the release of the video on Monday, citing the on-going investigation.
“I really can’t say anything until the investigation is complete,” said Chief Mazzie, who noted that the officer who was involved in the shooting is doing ‘as well as can be expected’ given the events and the investigation.”
The 9-1-1 call comes from a woman who stayed on the line with Everett Police dispatchers for quite some time.
“There is a man on the corner of Chelsea Street and Broadway in front of the Cancun Restaurant and he has a knife sticking out of his back pocket and he’s talking to himself,” the woman tells dispatchers. “He seems angry…He’s acting weird and talking to everybody going by and there’s something that looks like a knife in his back pocket, right side…It looks like a knife. I can’t guarantee it, but it looks like a knife.”
The caller identified him as an Hispanic male and that he seemed like he was ready to fight someone.
Further transmissions reveal the “Shots fired,” call and the fact that repeated calls for an ambulance to get there were made.
“I need a chop-chop on that ambulance at 432 Broadway please,” relays the dispatcher after police at the scene call for the ambulance several times.
The video appears to show that the officer, who drew is weapon because the victim was brandishing the knife, tried several times to get Martinez to put down his knife, and backed up repeatedly in an effort to maintain a safe distance between the victim himself. However, Martinez continued to advance on the officer and even after the officer fired his weapon, Martinez came within a few feet of the officer with the knife and appears to have tried to slash at him.
The videos being released this week include footage from two private security cameras and three City of Everett cameras. The footage was taken in the area of 432 Broadway Street in Everett at approximately 4:33 p.m.
“These videos will give the public access to preliminary facts while we continue to conduct a full, fair and thorough investigation into this matter,” said Ryan. “At the conclusion of the investigation we will be releasing a full report.”
Photos from the incident were also released this week including a still frame taken from Video 3 and a photo of the knife that was in the possession of Mejia Martinez at the time of the April 21 incident. These represent a portion of the evidence investigators have obtained as part of an open and active investigation being conducted by the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police and the Everett Police Department.
The footage appears to show the following sequence of events, with times taken from the clips’ timestamps:
- Mejia Martinez can be seen on the sidewalk at Norwood and Broadway, pacing about commencing at approximately 1609 hours.
- 1633:28 – The Officer arrives on scene and is observed on foot approaching from Broadway. He reaches conversation distance with Mejia Martinez.
- 1633:29 – The Officer is backing away from Mejia Martinez into the intersection of Broadway and Norwood Street.
- 1633:33 – The Officer reaches a green car traveling south in the intersection and begins to step to his left (south) as his path to retreat is obstructed by the car.
- 1633:40 – The Officer is observed with his weapon un-holstered and pointed at the ground. As the video moves forward the Officer is observed making hand gestures to Mejia Martinez and also reaching to his radio with his left hand.
- 1633:49 – Mejia Martinez steps off the curb, hands raised and waiving in the Officer’s direction, closing in on the Officer, and charging crouched down. The Officer raised his weapon as Mejia Martinez stepped from the curb and began the advance.
- 1633:53 – Mejia Martinez falls to the ground, as the Officer steps to his rear and right (north).
- 1653:57 – The Officer holstered his weapon, after seeing Mejia Martinez was down, and not getting up. Another Everett Police cruiser is on scene; an Everett Officer is advancing on foot; and other Everett Police cruisers are arriving.
- Video 3
Video was taken from a City of Everett camera.
As the video begins Mejia Martinez can be seen standing on the sidewalk at Norwood Street and Broadway at the “Do Not Enter” sign.
- 1:00 – The Officer arrives on scene, exits his cruiser, and begins to approach
Mejia Martinez. Mejia Martinez walks towards the cruiser and the Officer.
- 1:12 – Mejia Martinez is at the traffic light, and the Officer is about to step onto the sidewalk.
- 1:20 – The Officer is moving backwards and reaching for his gun with his right hand. Mejia Martinez is walking forward towards the Officer. Mejia Martinez is waiving his hands (bright flashes can be seen in his left hand forearm area). The Officer backs up into traffic, and can be seen reaching for his radio at 1:22.
- The video skips and at 1:25 the Officer is standing on the sewer cover, and the suspect is on the corner of the sidewalk. The Officer has moved to his left and down. His weapon is in his right hand pointed down; Mejia Martinez is on the sidewalk with his arms out to the side.
- 1:37 – Mejia Martinez has closed in on the Officer and is now on the street continuing to move forward.
- 1:46 – Mejia Martinez is almost on the Officer, the Officer is moving to his right and shooting. Mejia Martinez falls forward, the knife appears to be in his right hand as he falls.