SAN JOSE (BCN)— The fatal shooting of a 29-year-old murder suspect by two San Jose police officers in 2015 has been ruled lawful, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said today.
In a 26-page report released Monday, prosecutors provided statements from the law enforcement officers involved, witness statements, a medical examiner's statement and photographs to support their conclusion that the officers acted within the law to protect themselves from imminent danger.
Matthew Castillo, a San Jose resident who prosecutors said was involved in the shooting death of 38-year-old Christopher Maxwell Wrenn in an office building at 1885 Lundy Ave. in San Jose, was shot and killed by two officers trying to arrest him on Aug. 16, 2015.
"Taking the totality of the evidence, it appears that Matthew Castillo had no intention on being arrested, even if it meant his death at the hands of the police," Deputy District Attorney Lance Daugherty said in a statement.
"Officer Michael Jeffrey and Officer Vidal Fonseca were left with no choice but to shoot Castillo," Daugherty said.
At 12:50 a.m. of Aug. 13, 2015, Castillo, along with 40-year-old Richard Jacquez and 42-year-old Duane Aguero of San Jose, broke into Suite 120 of the office building in the Berryessa District in northeast San Jose.
Castillo and one of the other men were armed with guns while the third was armed with a weighted weapon, prosecutors said.
One suspect held three victims on the ground at gunpoint and stole a purse and credit cards from their pockets while the other two assaulted Wrenn and ransacked the office, prosecutors said.
One of the suspects shot Wrenn, who died at the hospital, prosecutors said.
On the evening of Aug. 16, 2015, Judge JoAnne McCracken signed a warrant for Castillo's arrest for murder.
At about 9 p.m., the San Jose Police Department's Covert Response Unit followed Castillo from a motel to Capital Launderland, a laundromat at 3122 Senter Road in South San Jose.
San Jose police officers Vidal Fonseca, Michael Jeffrey and Ismael Serrano identified themselves as police officers and ordered Castillo and the man and woman who were with him to show their hands, prosecutors said.
Castillo reportedly walked away from the officers and, as they were yelling at him to stop and show his hands, pulled a loaded, silver semi-automatic handgun and raised his arm toward Jeffrey.
According to prosecutors, Jeffrey and Fonseca each fired their rifles at Castillo, knocking him to the ground, belly down.
Castillo kept his hands around his waist on the ground, prosecutors said. The officers yelled at him to show his hands, but Castillo reportedly looked back at them while reaching for something.
Castillo reportedly started to bring the gun toward Jeffrey a second time, so Jeffrey shot him again. Castillo dropped the gun and died, prosecutors said.
Police officers shot suspect Jacquez the next day as they were trying to arrest him, prosecutors said. His shooting is still under review by the District Attorney's Office.
Jacquez's mother and daughter each filed a lawsuit against the city of San Jose in September. Aguero was arrested on Aug. 27, 2015 and is awaiting trial, prosecutors said.