Interim police chief says recent shooting of unarmed man was Modesto officer’s fourth fatality

Local News

(KTXL) — A family and an organization are asking for more answers after police killed a Modesto man last week. 

As of Thursday, there are three different investigations taking place, with two of them being handled by the Modesto Police Department. The other investigation is being handled by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. 

The shooting happened on Dec. 29 near the Church of the Brethren in the middle of the day. 

“We take these incidents very seriously,” said Interim Police Chief Brandon Gillespie. 

Gillespie had only recently assumed his post when the shooting happened. 

“My deepest condolences go out to this family,” Gillespie told FOX40. 

He says dispatchers received a 911 call that a 29-year-old man, identified as Trevor Seever, was making vague threats toward his family.

Gillespie says the dispatcher recognized Seever’s name because of an officer safety bulletin issued over a comment Seever made on Instagram weeks before. According to Gillespie, a post stated, “A good cop is a dead cop,” and, “All I want for Christmas is another dead MPD officer.”

Modesto police state that Officer Joseph Lamantia, who is a 12-year veteran with the department, shot at Seever at least seven times. 

Seever later died at the hospital.

Investigators say they never found a gun on him or at the scene. 

The Seever family declined to speak on camera but his mother, Darlene Ruiz, later gave FOX40 a statement:

#JusticefortrevorTrevor was shot and murdered by officer Joseph Lamantia. This is the 4th person he has shot and killed. He has been charged with excessive force and also beat & release tactics. My son was unarmed and was brutally murdered when he had his hand up and complying with officer Lamantia.

Darlene Ruiz

Gillespie confirmed the latest incident is the fifth shooting for Lamatia and four people have died. One of those shootings is still under investigation in San Joaquin County.

“I was, like, heartbroken,” said Jamiee Ellison, with Turlock Black Lives Matter. 

Ellison also said that enough is enough. 

“I want the officer to be fired immediately and arrested and charged for murder,” Ellison told FOX40. “I think that should, obviously, happen now because this is the officer’s fourth kill.”

Gillespie says he too has many questions and wants to know what led up to the shooting.

He’s also urging caution from the community so the investigation can be completed. 

“People want answers quickly, as do I. I don’t think those are unreasonable things that people want but the investigation does take time,” Gillespie said.

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