DA finds San Jose cops who fatally shot auto-theft suspect acted lawfully

After an investigation into a deadly police shooting involving a carjacking suspect in San Jose, the district attorney's office found that officers used lawful force when they discharged their weapons.

In a 41-page report by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, prosecutors concluded that officers' did not violate any law when they fatally shot Robert Seth Carter, 32, on the evening of Jan. 19.

According to the report, "there is abundant circumstantial evidence that Carter intended for the police to shoot and kill him. Carter told Jane Doe that he would die before going back to prison. Despite having a gun with no ammunition, he aimed it directly at Officer Gutierrez and ignored warnings to drop it. Once he was hit, Carter still refused to drop his gun. Even after Officer Ortiz fired multiple rounds, Carter propped himself up and raised his arm at the officers again, leading to the final volley that likely ended his life."

Authorities said on Jan. 19 at approximately 6:45 p.m. Carter was parked in a stolen Toyota Camry in Guadalupe River Park. When a San Jose police patrol car approached, Carter drove off at high speed despite not being actively pursued by the police.

Officials say Carter drove at speeds of up to 70 mph on freeways and streets across San Jose, from the west to the east and back again, running red lights and stop signs.

At one point, he drove against oncoming traffic, authorities said.

Carter drove to Santa Clara where he tried to carjack another motorist at gunpoint, but quickly abandoned that plan after realizing the keys weren't in the car.

Police said Carter then sped south, back into San Jose, where he collided with two passengers in another vehicle at W. Hedding Street and Park Avenue, where it all came to a violent conclusion.

"After crawling out of his burning vehicle, Carter fired a handgun at an approaching patrol officer, who heard the bullet whizz past his head," the district attorney's office said.

The district attorney said Carter continued to flee on foot until he was confronted by another cop in a passing squad car.

Authorities said Carter ignored the officer's commands to drop his gun. Instead, he raised his arm and pointed the gun directly at the officer.

Four officers fired their weapons, hitting Carter at least nine times.

Carter fell to the ground. A Santa Clara County sheriff's K-9 bit Carter's leg to pull him away.

He was handcuffed by officers, who gave him first aid. He was then taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead there.

An autopsy showed that Carter’s blood contained methamphetamine and amphetamine.