San Jose police fatally shot a man who took the gun from the shooter

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San Jose police said Tuesday a man they shot and injured over the weekend was holding a gun that a mob took from a gunman who pulled it out during a scuffle in a restaurant that turned into a run on the gun.

Police said the man they shot appeared to have his back to them and they ordered him to drop the gun before shooting him. Police are still investigating where the man was shot. He is not charged with any crime. The incident happened early Sunday at La Victoria Taqueria near San Jose State University.

Officers investigating an unrelated homicide near East San Carlos and South Fourth streets that occurred around 2:44 a.m. Sunday saw patrons and employees running out of the taqueria, located on the same block, around 3:11 a.m.

Inside the restaurant, two groups of customers were involved in a verbal argument before it “escalated into a physical fight,” San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata said at a conference call. press Tuesday afternoon.

During the scuffle, a person – whose name has not been released by police – pulled out a handgun and pointed it at another man, prompting people in the restaurant to run outside. Runaway patrons told officers working the nearby homicide case that there had been a “gun fight” inside the restaurant, Mata said.

There was a struggle for the gun and the handgun changed hands “more than once” during the fight, Mata said. One person suffered an orbital fracture during the scuffle, police said.

Mata said responding officers believed an “active shooter scenario is unfolding or about to unfold” and that preliminary information was broadcast on police radio.

“Officers also believed the incident at the restaurant may implicate the outstanding homicide suspect,” Mata said, referring to the nearby homicide investigation. Mata added that responding officers only knew there was a fight involving a gun at a ‘crowded’ restaurant a few hundred yards from an ongoing homicide investigation in which the suspect had fled “and could be in the immediate area”, and that the person holding the gun in the restaurant was pointing it “at others”.

San Jose Police Monday published still images from surveillance footage from inside the restaurant showing what they described as the “fighting and wrestling over a handgun.”

On Tuesday, San Jose police released a clip of edited surveillance footage that shows the fight breaking out between less than 10 people in the restaurant’s dining room. The faces of the attendees are very blurred, but men can be seen piling on top of each other as other patrons flee, and there was an apparent struggle for the handgun.

The fight was still ongoing when officers approached the restaurant, Mata said, and it spilled out the front door and onto the landing, where a man was seen holding the handgun. A still from a body-worn camera shows a man with his back to the police, holding the gun up in his left hand.

Mata said officers repeatedly ordered the man to drop his gun, but he did not listen to orders. An officer “fired more than once” and hit the man, Mata said. He was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The incident marks the second police shooting of the year by San Jose police, Mata said.

Police have yet to provide any police body camera footage, only stills from the body cameras. Police said they would release the body camera footage “in the coming weeks” in accordance with AB748, which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to ensure the public can obtain body camera footage from the police.

The subject officer is on routine administrative leave. Police will release the officer’s name “at a later date”, Mata said, but no approximate date was provided. The officer has four years of experience and was trained in crisis intervention, Mata said.

The man who police say originally brought the gun into the restaurant and brandished it during the scuffle has been arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a privately made firearm without a serial number. series, commonly referred to as the Ghost Weapon. Police did not release the suspect’s name.

The man who was shot has not been arrested or charged with any crime related to the incident, Mata said.

“The officer did not know who brought the weapon to the restaurant. This information came to light after detectives reviewed surveillance footage after the shooting,” Mata said. “The decision of whether the shooting was legal and justified will rest with the district attorney at a later date.”

The investigation is still ongoing, but police said as of Tuesday afternoon no one else involved in the fight has been charged on suspicion of a crime.

This incident is currently being investigated by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and the San Jose Police Homicide Unit.

The case is also being reviewed by the San Jose Police Internal Affairs Unit, the San Jose City Attorney’s Office and the San Jose Police Independent Auditor’s Office.

Lauren Hernández (her) is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @ByLHernandez

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