San Jose Officer Cleared in Shooting Death

A 23-page report cleared the officer of the killing.

By Sajid Farooq
|  Thursday, May 31, 2012  |  Updated 2:21 PM PDT
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SJ Officer Cleared in Shooting Death

Steve Lyon

A San Jose officer was cleared in the shooting death of a gang member last year.

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A San Jose police officer has been cleared in the shooting death of a gun-wielding man last year, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

A 23-page report released Thursday found that officer Lee Tassio was legally justified to shoot and kill 47-year-old Valente Galindo in his San Jose home on Dec. 15, 2011.

Tassio was patrolling the area with his partner when they saw Manuel Fuentes drinking beer in public, which is a municipal code violation.

Fuentes allegedly ran when officers tried to make contact with him, according to police reports.

The officers chased him into a house in the 2100 block of Inman Way, where Tassio pushed Fuentes to the ground, the report states.

Then Fuentes allegedly pulled a hand gun from his waistband and tossed it into a nearby bedroom where Galindo allegedly picked it up and pointed it toward officer, ignoring verbal orders to drop the gun, according to police reports. In past interviews, his girlfriend publicly stated that Fuentes never did such a thing.

Tassio then fired one round in self defense, hitting Galindo, who was taken to Regional Medical Center and pronounced dead, according to reports.

It was San Jose's fourth officer-involved fatal shooting of 2011.

Galindo was a known gang member who had a criminal history of hostility toward police officers. An autopsy found that he was intoxicated and tested positive for methamphetamine. 

Fuentes was convicted on May 24 of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon with an allegation that he possessed the weapon for the benefit of a criminal street gang. He was sentenced to two years and four months in jail.

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