Suspect killed in officer-involved shooting

January 26, 2011 1:16:15 AM PST
San Jose police shot and killed a man Tuesday afternoon. It happened in a ravine off Higuera Road in the San Jose hills, east of Reid-Hillview Airport.

As close as we are to San Jose, it was in a very rural part of the east hills with livestock and barbed wire fence all around.

"About noon time, midday, I was feeding the animals down at my ranch and heard what sounded to be a couple of gunshots, pops," said Bryan Van Wagoner, a neighbor.

It's not a big deal to hear gunshots in the rural east hills overlooking San Jose. But after Van Wagoner saw a swarm of police officers racing by, he learned a San Jose officer had shot and killed a man in a ravine, near his home.

"Yeah, I was questioned by one of the deputies, 'Hey, did you see any homeless encampments, any vagrants, any suspicious people walking around?' So that led me to believe they knew the person didn't belong up here," said Van Wagoner.

The suspect was shot on the property of Ardell Johnson. By phone, Johnson told ABC7 a neighbor chased the suspect to Johnson's house. The neighbor knocked on the door and told Johnson the suspect had stolen something from his home. Then he asked for Johnson's address so he could tell police where to go.

He told Johnson the suspect was armed with a knife and when police and Santa Clara deputies arrived, they chased the suspected burglar into a ravine where Johnson says they shot and killed him.

On Tuesday night, rescue workers were called in to pull the body out of that steep ravine. There are still many unanswered questions, including the suspects name and what exactly he stole from the neighbor.