/  04.14.2022

A Stockton police officer shot and killed 54-year-old Tracy Gaeta after she backed into a police vehicle per reports from NBC News. According to a family lawyer, the officer used excessive force on the victim who they say was unarmed.

Although the incident took place on February 22 when K-9 officer Kyle Ribera fired over 30 shots into Gaeta’s vehicle, body camera footage was not released until April 7. The police department reports that the incident started after Gaeta was seen hitting a police SUV at a red light on a surveillance tape.

She was then pursued by Ribera, and after stopping at a dead end, Gaeta backed into the officer’s car.

Video from the body camera shows Ribera firing 18 shots into the victim’s vehicle. Another several shots were fired by the officer and it wasn’t until he switched out his service weapon’s clip that he was seen yelling for the driver to raise their hands.

Once the clip shows Gaeta driving and reversing away from Ribera, he is seen opening fire again, shooting his weapon into her car over a dozen times . She was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital.

“No matter what was going on with her- even if she had committed a heinous crime – he didn’t have the right to shoot her,” said family attorney Gary Gwilliam in a statement. “She never threatened him.”

In 2019, the Stockton Police Department adopted a policy that hinders police officers from firing at fleeing vehicles.

“I hope that we can find justice because she did not deserve to die like that,” said Gaeta’s daughter Tressie who also referred to her as a “loving, caring grandmother.

At this time it is up to the local district attorney’s office on whether or not Ribera will face criminal charges. A spokesperson from the department also says that the incident is currently being investigated.

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