Neighbors say the man was friendly but quiet. Neighbor Erin Blom said the man had moved in about three weeks ago.
"He kept to himself. No issues. He's a person you would want living around you," Blom said.
Police say the man's estranged wife called them Sunday morning and said the man was suicidal and was hurting himself with a nail gun. They arrived at this apartment and tried to communicate with him through the door as well and by cell phone and landline. When they could not get him to respond, they forced the door down.
San Jose police spokesperson Officer Jose Garcia says the man confronted officers in a narrow hallway with a 10-inch knife.
"He went toward the officers with a knife over his head and they had no choice but to discharge their firearms for their own protection," Garcia said.
San Jose police are trained to use less deadly force, such as Tasers, when possible. Garcia says an investigation will be done in this case to determine all of the factors involved but says that the quick approach by the man in the confined space may have played a role in deadly force being used.
"It's a split second decision. The officers may not have had enough time to deploy their Taser and just because of the location they were in and how everything was transpiring," Garcia said.
The victim's name has not been released yet. When officers arrived, police say he had at least one self inflicted wound, perhaps a knife wound.