A San Jose police officer responding to a family disturbance late Tuesday night fatally shot a man who charged at him with two kitchen knives, police said.
Police were called to the 1500 block of Mt. Frazier Drive in the East Foothills around 11:35 p.m., after the man got into a fight with his father, according to a department statement.
Two police officers arrived on scene and the man emerged almost immediately from a garage. He was carrying a knife in his left hand and another one in his right hand, which was raised over his head, according to police Chief Eddie Garcia.
In an effort to defend himself, the officer, a 15-year-veteran, retreated quickly, pulled out his gun and opened fire. At least one bullet struck the suspect, who was by that time only three or four feet away from the officer, Garcia said.
San Jose Police Officer Responding to Family Disturbance Shoots, Hurts Man
The 28-year-old suspect was taken to Regional Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. He succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday morning, Garcia said. No one else was hurt, according to police.
Garcia said that the suspect and his father had called 911 almost simultaneously to report the fracas. The suspect was known to officers because they had dealt with him in the past, Garcia said. He had been arrested for making criminal threats and had a history of drug abuse and mental illness.
The officers "knew that there was a potential for violence," Garcia said, but "they did the best they could" after arriving on scene.
The only way the situation could have ended differently would have been if the man hadn't confronted the officers, he said.
"Had the suspect not attacked an officer with a knife, there wouild have been a different outcome," Garcia said. "We talk about less lethal [responses] and things of that nature and they are appropriate at times, but when an individual is charging at an officer with a knife over his head, there's not much that can be done at that point."
The police officer will be placed on paid administrative leave in keeping with department policy.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and the San Jose Police Department's Homicide Unit are conducting a joint criminal investigation.
The officer-involved shooting is also being monitored by the San Jose Police Department's Internal Affairs Unit, the City Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Independent Police Auditor.
The man's family has been "very, very cooperative" during the ongoing investigation, according to Garcia.
"It’s a tragedy for the suspect's family," he said. "It’s also a tragedy for my officers who were involved."
People with information about the case are asked to call the San Jose Police Department's Homicide Unit at 408-277-5283.