SAN JOSE, Calif. (BCN) - A San Jose police officer who was allegedly rammed by a suspect before a fatal police shooting on Saturday afternoon has been released from the hospital as of Monday.
The suspect was fatally shot after he dragged the officer a short distance while attempting to flee an East San Jose parking lot in a stolen car, police Chief Eddie Garcia said during a news conference Monday afternoon. It is the second fatal police shooting in San Jose this year.
Officers responded to Kollmar Drive and Story Road at 12:55 p.m. to reports of the stolen car. They found the car occupied by a male driver and backed into an apartment parking lot.
Police blocked in the car on all sides, but he didn't comply with commands to surrender, Garcia said, describing the suspect as acting "peculiar and bizarre."
He said the man jumped out of his car's sunroof and hopped onto other vehicles in an effort to escape, but jumped back into his vehicle and allegedly rammed into patrol vehicles when he was unable to find an exit.
He kept ramming into vehicles until he was able to make a space between the cars, and then drove his car directly at an officer, Garcia said. The officer was hit, pinned between the suspect's car and a parked vehicle and dragged under the suspect's vehicle, according to Garcia.
Three officers shot the suspect and hit him at least once, and the car came to a stop after hitting a support pole in the parking lot.
Paramedics responded and the suspect was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office will identify him once his family is contacted.
The officer who was hit suffered serious injuries, including multiple fractures, but was discharged from the hospital and is recovering. No one else was injured and the officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave.
On Tuesday the officers were identified as Sgt. James Mason, Officer Edward Carboni and Officer Aaron Alvarez. Mason has 17 years with the force and has 10 years of prior experience with another department. Carboni has six months with SJPD following one and a half years with another agency. Alvarez has one year with SJPD and no prior law enforcement experience.
The suspect was a validated gang member and has been convicted of numerous crimes, including assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and auto theft, and was on probation for brandishing a weapon.
"We're extremely lucky that we didn't lose an officer," Garcia said, describing the situation as unpredictable and a "close call." He said the suspect appeared to be ready to surrender at one point, but jumped back into the vehicle before the alleged car assault. It is unknown at this time if the suspect was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Garcia said less lethal weapons were available at the scene, but the suspect's behavior warranted the use of guns. The shooting was captured on body-worn camera and footage will be released after an investigation by the District Attorney's Office and the medical examiner's office.
Police internal affairs, the city attorney and the Independent Police Auditor are also overseeing the investigation.