San Jose

Police Identify Suspected Car Thief Grazed by Bullet near San Jose Toys ‘R' Us

A man who allegedly rammed a stolen car into three other vehicles and prompted a police officer to shoot at him during a chase Tuesday afternoon in South San Jose was identified Wednesday as Matthew Paz, a police spokesman said.

Paz, a 21-year-old San Jose resident, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, felony hit-and-run and auto theft, police Sgt. Enrique Garcia said.

Officers responded to a report from a male victim who saw his stolen Chevrolet Suburban in the area of Thornwood Drive and Winfield Boulevard near the Westfield Oakridge mall around 12:50 p.m. Tuesday, Garcia said.

Arriving officers saw the car traveling in the area of Blossom Hill Road near Almaden Expressway and one of them attempted to pull over the vehicle, according to Garcia.

The driver, later identified as Paz, allegedly drove away from the officers and collided into two occupied vehicles and a marked police car. People inside the two vehicles were injured, but police did not release details on their conditions.

The officer fired his weapon at Paz out of concern for the safety of himself and the public, according to Garcia.

Paz, however, drove away and parked in front of Toys 'R' Us in the Almaden Square shopping center and ran inside the store, Garcia said. 

Employees and shoppers were evacuated from the store, where police quickly arrested Paz. The suspect was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for a gunshot graze wound, according to Garcia.

The store was closed for the rest of the afternoon for the police investigation.

Four bullet holes were left on the stolen vehicle, which sustained front and rear-end damage.

Paz is being held at the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose on $95,000 bail, according to jail records.

The officer who shot at Paz has not been named by police and was placed on paid administrative leave, Garcia said. Tuesday's incident marks the city's 12th officer-involved shooting this year.

Christina, a friend of the Suburban owner and who declined to give her last name, said the SUV was stolen from outside the Pump It Up amusement center at 1830 Hillsdale Ave. at about noon Tuesday.

The Suburban owner used a tracking app on an iPad left in the vehicle to track it to Thornwood and Winfield, where her boyfriend called police, according to Christina.

The San Jose police homicide unit is conducting a criminal investigation into the case, which is being monitored by the internal affairs unit and Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Detective Sgt. Raul Martinez or Detective Jorge Santiago at (408) 277-5283. Anonymous tips can be made to Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-7867.

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