SJ Officer “Justifed” For Killing Child Kidnapper

NBC Bay Area

A San Jose police officer was justified when he shot and killed a man who held an 11-year-old girl at gunpoint and used her as a shield during a standoff in January, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said in a statement this morning.

The district attorney's office investigated the shooting and determined that Officer Mauricio Jimenez had lawfully fired his handgun when he shot Tri Le, 42, in the head after running to the top of a staircase where Le was holding the girl hostage.

In a 24-page report on the shooting, the district attorney's office concluded that Jimenez was correct in using deadly force.

"Here, Officer Jimenez killed Le while acting as a public officer and when he was attempting to rescue the victim of a forcible and atrocious crime," the district attorney's office stated in the report.

Supervising Deputy District Attorney Brian Welch said the report is being released to the public as part of a new protocol for officer-involved shootings that was implemented by District Attorney Jeff Rosen.

Previously, the office referred results of officer-involved shooting investigations to a criminal grand jury, but Rosen decided to review such reports internally and make the reports public, using the grand jury as an option only when the office intends to file criminal charges against an officer, Welsh said.

For his role in saving the kidnapped girl, Jimenez on Nov. 1 received a Medal of Honor from the San Jose Police Department -- the department's highest honor. Le, a San Jose resident and the former boyfriend of the girl's mother, forced his way into the San Jose home where the girl's grandparents lived on Jan. 20, grabbed the girl and said, "Me and her are going to die tonight," according to the district attorney's office.

The suspect took the girl to a residence on Pistachio Drive in San Jose, where he held a knife to her throat and fired a shot through a window at police officers, prosecutors said. In an attempt to save the girl's life, officers went into the home and Jimenez shot Le a short time later.

The girl was unhurt.

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