SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Monday marks three years since San Jose Police shot and killed a 19-year-old woman, who they thought was carrying a gun. It turns out it was a power drill. Her parents have since settled with the City of San Jose and have made it a mission to prevent similar tragedies.
Inside the Showman’s home lie pictures of their 19-year-old daughter Diana, who struggled with mental health issues, was bipolar and an attention seeker, but more so loved to sail and play ball.
“She was a baby,” said Father Jim Showman. “She had a lot of fun doing things.”
Her parents vividly remember the day she was taken away.
“It was a shock,” said Mother Vickie Showman. “It was unbelievable pain. I will never get over it. I miss her every day.”
Cell phone video captures that frantic day three years ago. It shows Diana holding a cordless power drill, spray painted in black that looked like a gun. As she walked toward officers, a 13-year veteran of the force fired a single shot.
“They’re trained to shoot right here,” said Jim Showman. “That's where they shot. They are afraid if they wound them they'll still be able to shoot.”
Since Diana's death, the Showmans filed a lawsuit settling with the city. Part of their settlement is working with San Jose Police with their crisis intervention team training.
Since civilian witnesses thought the power drill looked like a gun, the family did not pursue a lawsuit or a settlement involving money.
What they are calling for is nonlethal methods to be used, better communication among dispatchers and officers and for mental health professionals to also respond in the field.
“I highly advise people if you have mental health issues at this point, don't call 911,” said Jim Showman. “I don't think the police are equipped at this point to address it.”
Behind Steindorf School is a memorial bench and a metal plaque donated by the city. It’s where Diana volunteered for the Cambrian Park Little League. The parents call this day bittersweet. It’s where Diana’s parents find some peace and comfort.
“I accept that it happened but it's painful every day,” said Mother Vickie Showman.
At last check, the San Jose Police department has had seven officer involved shootings this year. All but one of them deal with mentally ill individuals.