Ambush of San Jose officers highlights risk of answering domestic violence calls

The San Jose community is still in shock after two officers were ambushed while responding to a domestic situation in San Jose. Recent data shows that police officers are at a greater risk when responding to those calls.

Studies shows that police are assaulted more often when responding to disturbance calls and domestic violence advocates say it’s extremely difficult to know how a domestic situation is going to play out. 

"The first thing that went through my mind was that it was an officer responding to a domestic violence call," said Ingrid Infante Mendez, Community Solutions Legal Advocacy Coordinator.  

A San Jose Police officer is in critical but stable condition after being shot while responding to a domestic call Wednesday morning. 

The US Dept. of Justice reports that in 2018, over 30% of all assaults on police officers happened while responding to family disputes and bar fights. Domestic violence advocates say most victims call police when they’re fearing for their lives. 

"We always instruct survivors to trust their gut feeling and if they are not safe, to just go ahead and act on that because they know their situation best," said Infante Mendez.  

ALSO: San Jose officer remains hospitalized in critical condition after shot during ambush

This was the 2nd San Jose police officer shot this year while working. 

The National Fraternal Order of Police says that by late December 2022, 323 police officers had been shot while in the line duty that year and 60 officers had been killed by gunfire. Santa Clara County’s District Attorney says gun prevention initiatives will be key to saving lives. 

"It’s hard to say whether it would have made a difference yesterday or not, but one thing we know is that it will make a difference in thousands of domestic violence and red flag law violations that happen each year," said  Jeff Rosen, Santa Clara County District Attorney.  

The attack on San Jose Police during a domestic call is a stark reminder that violence can be unpredictable. Advocates say people experiencing domestic abuse should seek services and think about what to do before and after an attack. 

"Is it safe? Now I imagine it’s a bit of a crime scene. So, how can I get my belongings and the things that I actually need? Are there emergency things I need until I can access the things I need?" said Colsaria Henderson, Exec. Dir. of Next Door, a domestic violence agency serving Santa Clara County. 

Suspect Gabriel Carreras is facing an attempted murder charge for shooting an officer. 

If you need help with a domestic situation, click on the links below: