SJ Cops Cleared in Fatal 2010 Shooting

An investigation by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office has cleared three San Jose police officers of any wrongdoing for fatally shooting a 42-year-old man last year.

Prosecutors declined to file charges against Officers James Mason, Matthew Blackerby, and Mark Palfalvi in the Aug. 29, 2010, shooting of Brian Casey at his San Jose apartment.

Investigators said the officers' use of force was justified because Casey posed a threat of immediate physical harm against the officers.

On the morning of Aug. 29, Casey's wife called police to report that her estranged husband had shot himself and that he said he wanted to die, according to the district attorney's office.

Officers responded and tried to contact Casey inside the apartment. They knocked on the door, called his home and cellphone, and knocked on his windows. There was no response, so the officers went inside, according to the district attorney's office.

As the officers walked through a narrow hallway, they saw Casey bleeding from an apparently self-inflicted wound. He was holding a 10-inch knife, which he allegedly raised above his head and advanced toward the officers, telling them "you better kill me," according to the district attorney's office.

The space was confined and Casey was about 4 feet away from the lead officer. The officers were not able to retreat. They shot Casey about six times and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

District Attorney's officials said Casey had moved out of his home and was renting the apartment after separating with his wife of 19 years two months prior to the shooting.

He was suffering from depression and substance abuse and, prior to the officers' arrival, had allegedly tried to take his own life by shooting himself in the head and chest with a nail gun. Had the officers not forced entry into the apartment Casey would have died from the nail gun wounds, according to the district attorney's office.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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