Details revealed about police shooting of man armed with machete
The man fatally shot by San Jose police last week had broken into an apartment in the complex where he formerly lived and held a family hostage with machetes, a pellet gun and a pipe, authorities said Monday.
Eliobert Gonzalez-Rocha was seen by police with a machete raised over the heads of the woman and her two sons as they kneeled on the floor when an officer shot and killed him, San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata said.
The woman and her two sons who were held captive for hours by Gonzalez-Rocha did not know him, according to San Jose police. Gonzalez-Rocha allegedly broke into the unit where the family lived in an erratic attempt to find the keys for his old apartment.
Gonzlez-Rocha had been recently evicted from his unit at the Boynton Garden apartments in West San Jose. The children's father returned to the home where he was confronted by Gonzalez-Rocha who said he would kill the entire family if the father did not leave, police said.
"My wife and kids are very nervous because we had never seen the aggressor before," the father told KTVU. "It was a random attack, and he just chose our house. But the problem, I think, was with the complex manager, because he kept asking for her, and saying her name."
The father called the police which sent in their specialized MERGE team.
Investigators said that the woman hid her 7-year-old son in a closet before Gonzalez-Rocha made her tie up her 18-year-old son with an electrical cord.
Chief Mata said a police MERGE unit officer broke through a back bedroom window, and took action just in time to save the hostages.
"The MERGE officer observed the suspect raise the machete towards the family, and fired at least one round, striking the suspect," he said.
Gonzalez-Rocha was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
"There’s nothing that can prepare someone for an experience like the one the chief just articulated," said Mayor Matt Mehan. "I’m thankful beyond words that this situation did not end in horrifying tragedy."
Investigators said they don’t know why Gonzalez-Rocha went to this specific unit looking for keys to an apartment he was previously evicted from. They are also looking into the Gonzalez-Rocha's mental health history.
After spending nearly an hour locked in terror as a man threatened their lives, the family said they’re now looking for a new place to live.
"They’re still in fear because it’s been hard for them to forget. It was a traumatic event," the father, who requested anonymity, said.