VALLEJO — Ryan McMahon, the Vallejo officer who fired once when five of his colleagues peppered a 20-year-old man with gunfire who was sitting unresponsive in a car with a gun in his lap, was recommended to be fired for “neglect for basic firearm safety,” according to public records released Wednesday.
Vallejo police Chief Shawny Williams agreed with an internal affairs determination that McMahon violated the department’s policy during the shooting, because another officer was in McMahon’s “cone of fire” when he fired his pistol at Suisun City resident Willie McCoy, who suffered 38 gunshot wounds and died in the Feb. 9, 2019 incident. McMahon told investigators he didn’t notice the officer — his patrol partner — until after firing.
Williams wrote McMahon’s actions were “dangerous” to his colleagues and out-of-step with “safety norms” of firearms handling. McMahon violated three department policies and any of them individually would support termination of an officer, Williams wrote.
McMahon’s current employment status with the city of Vallejo is unknown; a police spokeswoman did not immediately return requests for comment. Neither did attorneys with the firm that represents McMahon.
On body camera footage, McMahon can be seen firing the shot while running toward McCoy’s car, seconds after his colleagues had begun to fire.
For McMahon, the shooting of McCoy was the second time within a year’s span that he fired his duty weapon. In February 2018, he shot and killed Ronell Foster, after attempting to stop Foster for not having a light on his bicycle. During an ensuing struggle in an alleyway McMahon shot Foster, 32, killing him. McMahon is a defendant in federal lawsuits over both shootings.
The night of the McCoy shooting, McMahon shot once, after several other officers had already begun to shoot McCoy after he slumped forward in the driver’s seat of his car. Police had been called to the scene by employees at a Taco Bell on Admiral Callaghan Lane, who said McCoy was asleep in the drive-thru with a gun in his lap.
Officers arrived on scene, and parked on all sides of the vehicle, then surrounded it with their guns drawn. When McCoy leans forward, the officers begin to yell commands, then open fire, shooting the windshield and the front passenger window — which was broken and replaced with a plastic sheet — dozens of times.
McMahon — who was arriving with his partner, Ofc. Bryan Glick — when his colleagues began to shoot, would later tell investigators he interpreted the police gunfire into the car as McCoy shooting at his colleagues. He said he saw McCoy “moving back and forth” and the car window “glass coming out.”
“And I was like, ‘Oh s—, he’s shooting at us,” McMahon told a police interviewer. “And I had a shot…I had a clear line at that point.”
Right after firing, McMahon said, “that’s when Glick came right. in front of me.”
“And I was like, ‘Oh, s—, here’s my partner,” McMahon said.
Investigators, though, noted McMahon was “behind the line of fire” when he shot without telling his partner.
“(McMahon) did not recognize that (Glick) could potentially move into his field of fire, did not communicate with Officer Glick of his intention to join the forward line of fire, did not achieve a stable shooting platform and did not recognize that the target was being effectively engaged,” the internal affairs document says.
Before joining Vallejo police in 2017, McMahon was an officer with Sausalito PD from 2010 to 2015 and Central Marin Police Authority from 2015 to 2017, according to state law enforcement employment records.
Police fired a total of 55 times, and McCoy suffered 38 wounds, according to public documents released Wednesday in response to requests by the American Civil Liberties Union and the news site Open Vallejo.
The news of McMahon comes a week after Williams announced he was launching into an investigation into allegations that Vallejo officers involved in shootings would bend a tip of their police badge as a kind of trophy. Open Vallejo reported last week that multiple officers were part of a “secretive clique” in the department that was exclusive to those who killed while on-duty.
The officers who shot McCoy were identified as: McMahon, Glick, Collin Eaton, Jordon Patzer, Anthony Romero-Cano and Mark Thompson.
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Author: Nate Gartrell, David DeBolt