DA: SJ Officer Cleared in Deadly Shooting

The report spells out in graphic detail what lead an officer to shoot and kill a double homicide suspect last year.

By Lori Preuitt
|  Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012  |  Updated 2:49 PM PDT
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DA: SJ Officer Cleared in Deadly Shooting

The Santa Clara County District Attorney has cleared a San Jose police officer from any wrong doing in connection to a deadly shooting of a suspect a year ago.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen on Tuesday said Officer Jeff Harwell was justified when he shot and killed Ricardo Moreno on Oct. 10, 2011.

"Officer Harwell's use of deadly force was in response to an apparent and immediate threat of great bodily injury or death to himself and (the other officer)," Rosen said in a statement.

Moreno was a suspect in a double homicide of two San Jose State students Eric Otokawa, 21, and his girlfriend, Kristina Pandula, 20, who were killed on Oct. 8.

Two days later, police were called after Moreno reportedly fired a shot a his brother's car and pointed the gun at other vehicles.

When Harwell and his partner, Officer George Constanin, arrived, they ordered Moreno to drop his weapon, which he did, but he kept it within reach, according to prosecutors.

The DA's report said when Constanin ordered Moreno to move his hands away from the gun, he instead grabbed it, "used both hands to ratchet the slide - prepping it to fire - and aimed the firearm at Officer Constantin."

Harwell then fired his weapon five or six times at Moreno killing him, according to the prosecutors.

The report also says the Moreno was high on cocaine and test of his gun showed bullets from the firearm had been used in the double homicide three days earlier.

The only question that remains, according to the report, is a motive.

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