SAN JOSE — Two San Jose police officers shot and killed a man in the Blossom Valley neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, ending a wild 20-minute chase on Highway 85 and through residential streets.
The suspect, who is about 25 years old but was not identified as of late Saturday night, died after he fled his disabled car on the 5800 block of Blossom Avenue, near Mohican Drive, in South San Jose.
Two officers “felt the suspect presented an imminent danger,” said Sgt. Jason Dwyer, a spokesman for the San Jose Police Department. Believing the suspect was armed, “both officers fired, he went down and was pronounced dead at the scene.”
It was the first officer-involved shooting of the year in San Jose. There were four last year, with one fatality, and eight in 2011, with four fatalities, Dwyer said.
The episode started at 2:36 p.m. in the area of Union Avenue and Bascom Avenue, where a police officer spotted a driver who was acting suspiciously, Dwyer said.
Details about his behavior were not available, but the neighborhood has recently suffered a spate of daytime residential burglaries.
The driver took off at a high rate of speed, but the officer did not initially chase him, believing it unsafe in a residential neighborhood. The officer soon spotted and followed the suspect’s tan Ford Contour.
“We’re thinking: ‘Who are you and why don’t you want to be caught?’ ” Dwyer said.
The suspect rammed the police car and
drove away, with the officer in pursuit. And other officers soon joined the chase, during which the suspect pointed what appeared to be a handgun at officers “and started throwing objects out of the car window,” such as a woman’s purse and bag of baseball bats, Dwyer said.
One police cruiser became disabled, but the suspect rammed two other police cars. At one point, at least 14 police cars were involved in the chase, including Campbell police cars.
Bay Area police kill four suspects in 27 hours
In the roughly 27 hours from early Saturday to Sunday morning, police in Hayward, Union City, San Jose and San Francisco each opened fire and killed a suspect who either allegedly hit them with a car or drew a pistol.
In San Jose, police on Sunday still had not identified the man who died after being shot and killed by two unidentified officers in the Blossom Valley neighborhood Saturday afternoon.
The most recent weekend confrontation ended around 3:20 a.m., with a Hayward police officer firing into a Honda that rammed his cruiser, which carried a civilian passenger. About 4½ hours earlier, Union City police shot and killed a man who they said pulled a gun on them during a foot chase around 10 p.m.
These deadly clashes come just days after two Santa Cruz police officers were shot and killed Tuesday by a suspect who gunned them down without warning. It’s also been a bloody start to 2013 for California police, who have already seen six officers killed in the line of duty, including those in Santa Cruz, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
“Is it because of all these incidents that these officers did what they did? I don’t think so,” said Hayward police Sgt. Eric Krimm, discussing the officer-involved shootings. “Would an officer under similar circumstances maybe have it in the subconscious? Absolutely. If people (suspects) just listened — if they heed the verbal orders and do what the officer is telling them, there won’t be a
use of force. But when faced with a deadly situation where someone’s life is in danger, the officer can and may respond with lethal force.”Cars as weaponry
The spate of violence started around 12:30 a.m. Saturday when Daly City police shot and killed a suspected car thief they chased into San Francisco. He allegedly waived a pistol at officers during the chase and then “raised his gun at the officers,” which led police to open fire.
Later in the day, a San Jose officer tried to pull over a suspicious vehicle around 2:35 p.m. Instead of stopping, the suspect allegedly rammed his car into the officer’s cruiser, sparking a high-speed chase that ended when police boxed him in.
“Two officers fired several shots at the suspect when he made a threatening motion,” San Jose police Officer Albert Morales said Saturday.
In the most recent shooting, a Hayward officer opened fire into a Honda that slammed into his cruiser during a traffic stop around 3:20 a.m. Sunday, at the intersection of Fletcher Lane and Watkins Street, said Krimm. The bullets hit the passenger in the Honda, a white man in his 20s. The car later crashed, so police are looking into whether the wreck played a role in his death.
About five hours earlier, two Union City police shot a man who allegedly pulled a gun from the waistband of his pants and pointed it at them. Union City police Cmdr. Ben Horner said the officer tried to pull over the suspect about 10 p.m. on Dyer Street, south of Meteor Way.
The suspect allegedly ran from police, ignored their commands and then pulled the pistol. Horner said a loaded gun was found at the scene.
The suspect was transported to a hospital and died a short time later, Horner said.
The officers in Hayward and Union City were placed on routine leave after the deaths. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office will investigate both incidents.
The identities of the dead suspects and passenger have not been released.
Autopsies are scheduled for early this week, an Alameda County Coroner’s Office spokesman said.
Oakland-based civil rights attorney John Burris said there is usually a rise in officer-involved shootings following the death of police officers. Burris referenced Vallejo, where there were 10 officer-involved shootings in which six people died in 2012. The shootings followed the shooting death of a Vallejo officer in November 2011.
“It’s an alarming number,” Burris said of the weekend violence. “You have more police shootings of civilians after there’s been a fatal police shooting. That’s always of concern because you wonder whether or not police are overreacting to an event because of heightened fear.”
Police made at least one arrest in connection with the fatal confrontations. The man behind the wheel of the Honda in Hayward, identified by police as 23-year-old Arthur Pakman, of Oakley, was taken into custody on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. The weapon in this case was the car, which police said he rammed into the passenger side of a police cruiser.
The officer, who was driving with a civilian ride-along passenger, pulled over the suspect’s vehicle, but the situation quickly grew dangerous. The driver ignored police commands and allegedly drove toward the cruiser, slamming into the passenger-side door. The civilian jumped back into the cruiser as it was struck and was not injured. The veteran officer, whose named was not released, then opened fire.
After speeding away, Pakman crashed at D Street and Foothill Boulevard, and police say he ran about 30 yards before lying down and surrendering.