The San Diego County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a man in Vista last week has been involved in two fatal shootings in the one year he’s been employed by the department.
Deputy Christopher Villanueva has been identified as the deputy who fired his service weapon, killing Jonathan Coronel, 24, on Wednesday, July 5. Villanueva has been employed by the sheriff’s department for approximately one year.
On Aug. 11, 2016, Villanueva was one of two deputies involved in the fatal shooting of Sergio Weick, 33. In this incident, Weick, a known gang member, was unarmed at the time of his death. Deputies shot Weick on the left side of his body when they said he reached for his waist and “appeared to reach for a weapon."
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office ruled the Weick shooting justified.
After Villanueva was cleared, he resumed his duties as a deputy. Now, Villanueva is under investigation once again, this time for Coronel's death.
Wearing T-shirts with the young man's face and name on them, family members spoke with the media on Wednesday. They said they have not been contacted by the sheriff's department.
Diego Coronel said it’s been a terrible time for the family.
“We’ve got a lot of questions and we want answers,” Coronel said.
On July 5, Villanueva was in the area of North Melrose with the Gang Enforcement Detail when officials spotted Coronel, who had an active felony warrant for his arrest.
Lt. Kenn Nelson said Villanueva had been briefed on Coronel and was told he was known to be armed. The deputy was also told that Coronel had made previous threats to kill law enforcement officers, according to Nelson.
Homicide investigators said when deputies approached Coronel, he jumped out of a car and led a pursuit, jumping over fences and through private yards.
A witness told NBC 7 he saw Coronel before the shooting. Coronel tried to hide near a children's pool in the yard and asked him to keep quiet, the witness said.
However, the witness said he worried for his family's safety and urged Coronel to give himself up and not resist authorities.
According to the witness, Coronel was unarmed and lying on his stomach.
Homicide investigators said a confrontation occurred and Villanueva fired his weapon fearing for his life.
“Mr. Coronel was crouched down with his right hand covered by a t-shirt, when the deputies approached him. He stood up or was beginning to come out of his crouch. He pointed that covered hand toward the deputy,” Nelson said Wednesday.
The deputy fired 16 rounds. He did reload but he did not fire after reloading.
Coronel was struck multiple times, Nelson said.
Sheriff's investigators spoke with the witness who said Coronel was lying on his stomach.
“The physical evidence and the additional statements that we received from the deputies that were on scene would suggest it happened differently, more likely in the description I’ve given you here today.
Nelson would not release the location of the gunshot wounds Coronel suffered until the medical examiner’s office finalized the autopsy report.
Sergio Weick, 33, was shot and killed on August 11 after a confrontation with deputies.
Weick was a known gang member and had a warrant out for his arrest when deputies spotted him leaving the home of another known gang member in Vista.
The sighting soon led to a short high-speed, wrong-way pursuit through Vista until Weick's car crashed - and deputies pursued him on foot through a condo complex, deputies said.
The foot chase ended when deputies Peter Myers and Christopher Villanueva caught up to Weick standing near some bushes.
Deputies shot Weick on the left side of his body when they say he reached for his waist and “appeared to reach for a weapon." The deputy yelled several times for Weick to put his hands up, Dumanis said.
Fearing the suspect was holding a gun, one deputy shot Weick. A second deputy then saw Weick reach for a what appeared to be a gun on his left hip. "Fearing he was about to be shot, that deputy also shot Mr. Weick," Dumanis said.
Weick collapsed and deputies handcuffed him. He later died.
An autopsy report shows Weick was shot 18 times and suffered 27 separate wounds as a result.
Investigators say Weick had shotgun shells and knives on him. They later found a sawed-off shotgun, knives and drug paraphernalia in his car.
No video of the incident exists because Sheriff's deputies are not equipped with body-worn cameras, Dumanis said.
Nelson said there is no personal body cam video available for the Coronel shooting.