Photos taken from King City Officer Janelle Sanchez’s in-car video and body cam show Brandon Varao with a knife raised in his right hand running toward her, as she moves backward and fires. (MCDA/Contributed)

KING CITY — Monterey County District Attorney’s Office has released video footage and additional details about the officer-involved shooting Monday night in King City.

According to the DA’s Office, Joshua Varao of King City called 9-1-1 at 6:53 p.m. on Dec. 19, stating that his 27-year-old brother Brandon Varao had stabbed him multiple times and was being restrained by their father.

King City Officer Janelle Sanchez was the first officer to respond to the scene, arriving within three minutes. 

Video from both Sanchez’s car and body cam show her exiting her car with a medical bag, apparently to render aid, but then encountering a person — later identified as Brandon Varao — who stepped off the curb in front of a white truck with his hands up. 

The knife that was recovered at the scene. (MCDA/Contributed)

“She instructed him to come out with his hands up and then turned around and placed her medical bag on the hood of her patrol car,” stated the DA’s Office in a news release Wednesday. “When she turned back around, (Brandon) Varao had ignored her command because he no longer had his hands up and moved backward mostly out of the car video frame.”

Another car drove into the scene, and the right front passenger began to get out. Simultaneously, Sanchez approached Brandon Varao, who suddenly rushed toward her with a knife in his right hand. She then fired “many shots” at him while retreating backward, the DA’s Office said.

“He continued to chase her regardless of gunfire and rounds striking him,” the release added. “Eventually, apparently because he was shot, stopped advancing. He then raised his left hand and appeared to make an obscene gesture. Then he dropped the knife and fell backward.”

Brandon Varao was pronounced dead at the scene. The DA’s Office said about four rounds struck him, pending results of an autopsy.

Sanchez has been an officer with the King City Police Department for one year and 10 months. Officer Daniel Maldonado, a KCPD officer for 11 months, also arrived on scene within seconds of Sanchez. Sgt. Anthony Shaw, a police officer for 15 years and seven months, was on scene as well.

All three fired their weapons, the DA’s Office said. A total of 18 casings were recovered at the scene.

Joshua Varao was treated for his injuries and released from Natividad Medical Center.

“The District Attorney’s Office will continue to investigate and review this shooting,” the release concluded.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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