San Diego

SDPD Releases Body Cam Footage from El Cerrito Officer-Involved Shooting

Dennis Carolino, 53, was shot and killed by an officer on Aug. 24, 2019

The San Diego Police Department released 911 call audio and officer-worn camera footage from a deadly police shooting in August involving a man in El Cerrito.

An SDPD officer shot Dennis Carolino, 53, of San Diego, seven times as Carolino rushed him with a shovel in the backyard of Carolino's home on Adelaide Avenue on the night of Aug. 24.

Two officers, identified by SDPD as Officers Brad Keyes and Jose Mendez, responded to the El Cerrito home where Carolino's aunt told police dispatchers he threw a brick at her.

An officer shot and killed a man in El Cerrito in August 2019. A month and a half later, SDPD released body cam footage of that incident.

In the footage recorded by Keyes' body-worn camera, Carolino's aunt can be heard telling the officers her nephew became upset with her after she told him to clean up the shed he occupied in the backyard.

She can also be heard telling police upon their arrival that her nephew has a "mental problem" and that she had asked him if he was taking his medicine.

As Carolino's aunt was leading the officers to the backyard to make contact with Carolino, one officer can be heard telling her a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) clinician was going to come with them. The officer said the clinician was going to evaluate Carolino and told Carolino's aunt, "We're going to make sure he's OK."

Keyes and Mendez were led around the house and down a staircase into the backyard. As instructed, Carolino's aunt pointed them in the direction of Carolino's shed, which had its door closed.

About four seconds after Keyes shined his flashlight at the door of the shed, Carolino flung the door open.

Keyes and Mendez can be heard telling Carolino to show them his hands and giving him commands to drop the object he was holding.

About three seconds after the shed door opened, Carolino rushed at the officers with the object which was later determined to be a shovel.

SDPD said Mendez deployed his taser and Keyes fired his service weapon. Seven shots can be heard. The department said Carolino was hit multiple times.

Carolino fell to the ground in front of the officers, and they proceeded to place him in handcuffs and provide medical aid while they waited for medics to arrive. They can be heard telling him repeatedly to relax and to give them his hands.

Carolino was pronounced dead at the scene.

"In presenting this video, we are not coming to any conclusions about what happened in this incident," SDPD Chief David Nisleit said. "Our Homicide Unit is conducting an investigation and will turn the matter over to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office for review. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office will also monitor the investigation."

SDPD was required to release body camera footage within 45 days of the shooting as required under Assembly Bill 748.

Carolino's brother, Anthony Carolino, said Dennis was diagnosed with schizophrenia 10 years ago, and said his brother doesn't behave rationally when he's not on his medication.

He criticized the responding officers and the department for using lethal force when he thinks other options may have kept his brother alive.

"They have PERT, the Psycological Emergency Response Team. They have canine unit. They're supposed to be able to handle a mental illness peerson," Anthony said.

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