Handcuffed man fires officer's gun in Santa Clara County Jail parking lot, deputies say

Authorities say the suspect obtained a firearm from the back of the patrol vehicle and fired off several shots.

ByAmy Hollyfield and Julian Glover KGO logo
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Handcuffed man fires officer's gun in Santa Clara County Jail parking lot
A suspect has surrendered after authorities say he grabbed a firearm from a patrol car and fired shots in the Santa Clara County Jail parking lot.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Joseph Castro, 40, was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on Wednesday, accused of grabbing an officer's gun and firing it several times while handcuffed in the back of a police car.

"The gun was inside the rear compartment of the vehicle and the suspect did somehow manage to get that firearm. It is important to note that the officer did follow all the proper protocol and safety measures to secure his weapon. This is just an example of a very determined suspect that is willing to do anything to get out of custody and escape," said Sgt. Michael Low with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

A San Jose police officer had just pulled into the garage of the jail to book Castro when he says Castro started firing. It happened at 1:40 a.m. Wednesday. It wasn't until 5:48 a.m. that they finally got him back into secure custody.

No one was hit by the gunfire. The jail was put on lockdown and a crisis negotiating team moved in. Officers say Castro stayed in the police car the entire time.

"We did deploy a robot onto the ramp with a camera to get a better vantage point of the suspect and what he was doing," Low said.

Officers say Castro managed to fire several rounds but that no officers fired their weapons. They say he was in the handcuffs the whole time.

"At approximately 5:48 a.m., the sheriff's tactical teams moved in on Castro and brought him into custody without incident," Low said.

This is not the first time officers have dealt with Castro.

Sgt. Low says Castro was released from jail last week as part of the state's initiative to release inmates to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. Sgt. Low did not know what he was booked for last week. On Wednesday, Sgt. Low said Castro was arrested for a non-violent offense.

"I believe he was initially arrested for mail theft or forgery and a probation violation," Sgt. Low said.

He says Castro will now face a number of felonies.