Athlete who wrested gun from suspect in San Jose taqueria shot 4 times
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A 20-year-old football player who wrested a ghost gun away from a man inside a San Jose taqueria to break up a brawl was shot by police in the stomach, twice in the arm and in the knee. The wounds are causes of grave concern as he tries to pursue an athletic career, his attorney told KTVU on Wednesday.
Civil rights attorney Adante Pointer said it's unclear how K'aun Green's injuries will play out, as the young man is still recovering in the hospital after being struck by San Jose police bullets on Sunday about 3 a.m. as he was exiting La Victoria Taqueria.
Green played quarterback at McClymonds High School in Oakland and has been playing for Contra Costa College, where he is a defensive end and linebacker. He has dreams of turning pro. He also has several offers to attend four-year universities on a football scholarship.
San Jose police say they shot at Green because he was holding a gun in his hand and didn't drop it. Police released a photo of a man with a gun in his left hand at the top of the stairs to the restaurant. His back was toward police in the photo.
WATCH: Fight inside San Jose taqueria
Pointer said Green wasn't aware of what was happening and that police were climbing up the stairs to the restaurant just as he had grabbed control of the gun from someone else and was trying to diffuse a fight inside the taqueria.
Police released photos of the melee inside the restaurant, showing a chaotic scene of about half a dozen people tussling with each other.
What's clear is that Green did not bring the gun to the restaurant. Police confirmed that at a news conference on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, San Jose police said they arrested Brian Carter, 30, on suspicion of being a felon in possession with a firearm.
According to Pointer, Green hadn't known anyone involved in the fight.
He had been at the restaurant with a friend and two young women.
K'uan Green in the hospital after being shot by San Jose police.
Pointer said Green was eating when an unknown man came in and started threatening the group. Pointer said the man left, but then came back inside with two other people. He said those three men started to threaten and verbally assault Green and his friends. One of those men pulled out a gun.
While San Jose police have acknowledged that Green did not bring the gun into the restaurant, they also have not apologized or recognized what Green said he did, either.
They said police were on heightened alert because they were already at the scene of a homicide around the corner at the time of the taqueria brawl.
At the time, they didn't know if the two situations were connected, or if there was an active shooter situation unfolding.
Police have since determined that the homicide and the brawl were not related to each other.
Pointer said that Green didn't know any of that at the time, and that his actions were commendable.
"The video shows he was punched first, then the gun was drawn," Pointer said. "He defended himself then disarmed the guy who was threatening to shoot him and then the other people in the restaurant."
San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata said at a Tuesday news conference that based on surveillance video from inside the restaurant it appears the handgun was transferred several times during a fight at La Victoria Taqueria.
"It was someone else who had the firearm. The person who was shot, based on evidence, he did not bring it," Mata said.
Police said they saw Green doing something to the gun that looked like he was racking it.
Brian Carter was arrested for bringing a gun into La Victoria Taqueria.
But Pointer said the clip from the handgun fell out during the tussle over the weapon.
"He put the clip back in the gun and never pointed it at anyone in the restaurant," Pointer said. "And he was pleading with the guy telling him, ‘Look man I don’t want to do anything like this. ‘I’m an athlete. We don't want any problems.'"
He said Green was backing away from his attackers and trying to exit the restaurant, with no idea that officers were outside.
"The police never gave any orders until he got to the door," Pointer said. "No one knew police were outside. He was a peacemaker. He was backing out the door and at the time the police said drop the gun and not even two seconds later, he was shot. He was never given the time to recognize the police. He was never given the time to drop the gun. And he was the hero."
Green has not been charged with any crime.
Adding insult to injury for the family, Pointer said that Green's parents tried to find out what happened to their son on Sunday, but were told nothing by police.
Hearing about the homicide in San Jose nearby the taqueria, Green's parents feared the worst.
They made frantic calls to find out what happened to him and finally sought the help of Pointer's law firm.
By 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Pointer said they finally were told that Green was not dead, but in the hospital, a victim of police gunshot wounds.
Green's parents were not able to actually see him until Tuesday, nearly two days after he was shot.
Photo courtesy of San Jose police.
KTVU reporters Jesse Gary, Aja Seldon and Andre Torrez contributed to this report.