For release on August 18, 2014   CONTACT:
Brian Welch, Supervising Deputy District Attorney
A San Jose Police Officer lawfully shot and killed a knife-wielding, drug-addled man who had just stabbed three people, carjacked a minivan, and smashed it into a patrol car, a Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office review has concluded.
Convinced Albert Vasquez was just about to attack him with a knife and escape, veteran Officer Kevin Peters fired three shots at Vasquez. The suspect showed no effect. The officer then fired several more shots, fatally, stopping the suspect.
  “The shooting was justified in order to protect Officer Peters, other officers, and members of the general public by preventing Vasquez from escaping,” the report authored by Supervising Deputy District Attorney Brian Welch states.
The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal. By law, officers are allowed to use deadly force when faced with imminent danger and/or when trying to arrest a violent and dangerous fleeing felon.
Vasquez’s violent rampage began the Thanksgiving morning of November 28, 2013, after a documented night of drug use. The 42-year-old felon, with a criminal history of drug sales, assault and robbery and still on probation for drug use, stabbed two men and a woman at an Alexian Drive home in San Jose. The attacks were unprovoked and left one of the victims with life-threatening injuries.
A few minutes later, a man was parking his Toyota minivan when Vasquez pulled him from the driver’s seat, brandished a knife, and drove away.
Reacting to dispatches about the stabbing, Officer Peters, a 12-year veteran, soon spotted the suspect vehicle and began a pursuit. After a high-speed chase, Peters blocked Vasquez in a Kirk Glen Drive cul-de-sac. The suspect smashed the van into the patrol car. The officer exited his vehicle to stop the suspect, who had jammed his minivan against a parked truck. Vasquez, who showed strong signs of being under the influence of PCP, ignored the officer’s orders to surrender. When the armed man turned toward the officer, who was still the lone officer at the scene, Peters fired. Peters told investigators that he believed Vasquez “was not going to stop until somebody stopped him.”
An autopsy showed that Vasquez had been shot seven times. Tests also showed that he was under the influence of both PCP and methamphetamine. ###

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