Police say the officer who fired the fatal shot has nine years of law enforcement experience, seven with the San Jose Police Department and this is his first officer-involved shooting.
Two officers from the Metro Unit, specializing in gang suppression, were patrolling a neighborhood known for gang activity. They started to approach a man with an open can of beer around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. That 24-year-old suspect ran into a home on Inman Way and police say when they were pushing him to the ground, he tossed a gun from his waistband into a nearby bedroom where there was a second person.
"At that point there was an individual in that bedroom who clearly saw the officer. The officer gave him commands not to pick up the gun, the suspect then picked up the weapon, and the officer gave him commands to drop the gun. The suspect raised the gun, pointed it at the officer and the officer fired one round at the suspect in self defense," said San Jose Police Sgt. Jason Dwyer.
Police say they are looking into whether either of the men were involved in gangs. Friday afternoon, family and friends outside the home where the shooting happened asked that we leave the area.
This is the eighth officer-involved shooting this year. That's twice as many as all of last year and the third highest total since 1996. Community groups say the number of officer-involved shootings is simply unacceptable and there is an ongoing dialogue with the police chief.
"There is a sense of urgency that is really uniting communities from different backgrounds, from different parts of the city, along with policy makers, just to say that this is something we simply can't tolerate," said Raj Jayadev, from Coalition for Justice and Accountability.
The department will do an internal investigation to see if the officers followed proper policy and procedures, but the shooting will not be reviewed by an outside agency unless there is a formal complaint.
"Our office, the Independent Police Auditor's Office, will not be involved in any aspect of any investigation into the shooting unless somebody, some member of the public, any member of the public, contacts us to register a complaint or concern," said Judge LaDoris Cordell, an independent police auditor.
Police say any officer-involved shooting is unfortunate, but all eight this year have been justified. They say that there has been a trend, not just in San Jose, but nationwide of more suspects engaging police in deadly force.