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Modesto Mother Demands Justice For Unarmed Son Killed In Police Shooting

MODESTO (CBS13) — A mother is demanding answers and justice after her unarmed son was killed in a police shooting near a Modesto church in December.

More than a month after her son's death, Darlene Ruiz is still trying to make sense of how a 911 call for help ended her son's life.

"He (the officer) is not there to protect and serve, he looked like he was in a video game going after Trevor; Trevor had no idea," said Ruiz.

Bodycam video shows the moments leading up to the final shots.

Trevor Seever, 29, was shot and killed by Modesto police around 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 29. Police say officers were called to the 2300 block of Woodland Avenue after receiving a call from Allison Seever who said her brother, Trevor Seever, bought a gun and was making threats.

Ruiz said Allison called her upset and depressed, prompting the family to call 911.

"I'm the one who made the call. It weighs heavy on my heart every single day," Allison said.

Modesto police officer Joseph Lamantia found Trevor near The Church of Brethren on Woodland Avenue. Shortly after he was located, police say Officer Lamantia shot Trevor. From the bodycam video, it appears Trevor was hit multiple times in the upper body. The family wants Officer Lamantia behind bars.

"Trevor never resisted arrest and he would never resist arrest, there was no de-escalation," said Ruiz. "I do believe Lamantia is a threat to the city and I think he shoots first and there is no remorse, no nothing, no de-escalation."

Trevor was taken to a hospital where he died from his injuries. No officers were injured in the shooting.

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Police say a gun was not located during a search of the scene.

"Why did he (Officer Lamantia) before even getting out of his car have his gun out, why was that the first resort?" questioned Allison.

Trevor's family says he was an aspiring P.E. teacher who frequently worked as a referee and loved sports. Ruiz said she has received the support of two Modesto City Councilmembers who support the firing of Officer Lamantia.

The Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office and the Modesto Police Department are both investigating the shooting. Officer Lamantia, a 12-year veteran of the department, has been placed on administrative leave.

"I do believe if a different officer was there, Trevor would still be here," Ruiz said.

The video can be found here. Viewer discretion is advised.

March 18, 2021 Update: Joseph Lamantia has been terminated from the Modesto Police Department and charged with one count of felony voluntary manslaughter. He has entered a not guilty plea and is due back in court on June 17. 

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