The kidnapping suspect who drew the San Jose Police SWAT team into a gunfight Friday afternoon had a secret: he was shooting blanks.
If he’d been firing live ammunition, the outcome would’ve been very different, according to San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore and his acting deputy chief Eddie Garcia.
“There’s not a question in our minds. We would’ve had multiple officers shot, without question,” Garcia added.
San Jose police displayed the Magnum 9mm pistol along with the knife they say Tri Trong Le used to hold his ex-girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter hostage. We are no longer using the girl’s name or photo because police say she was sexually assaulted.
Police say Le kidnapped the girl at gunpoint from a home on Taffy Court in San Jose, where she lived with her mother. Vo's mother was the suspect's ex-girlfriend. Police say Le’s motivation may’ve been the recent end of their 4-year relationship.
After bursting into the home on Taffy court, threatening his ex’s family members and kidnapping the girl around 1:18 a.m. Friday morning, Le ended up at his townhome on Pistachio Drive.
More than a hundred officers mobilized and surrounded the home. When the suspect suspect showed himself in a window, threatening the girl with a knife in one hand and holding a gun in his other, the SWAT team entered through the front of the townhouse. At the back door, another specialized police unit was waiting to rescue the hostage. When bullets started to fly, they made their move. Le continued firing at police and when the girl managed to get away, a 12-year veteran office fired a single deadly shot to Le’s head.
Police plan to interview the young victim Monday, after giving her a few days to deal with the trauma.
“From the moment she was taken to the time she ended up at the house, that’s a period of time when we really don’t know what happened,” said Garcia, adding “There were only two people who knew that and one of them was the victim.”
The officer who fired the shot is on paid administrative leave pending review. The police department and the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office will also review the case.