For release on March 17, 2016   CONTACT:
Carolyn Powell, Deputy District Attorney
Homicide Unit
Two Santa Clara police officers lawfully shot and killed a Tracy man who they witnessed robbing a convenience store and firing a shot at a clerk, according to a review by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
Devin Gates, 24, who was killed in the March 22, 2015 confrontation with officers, was later identified as the main suspect in a similar armed robbery at a Tracy convenience store five days before.
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.
“Gates posed a significant threat to their lives and the lives of others,” prosecutor Carolyn Powell, who wrote the 39-page public report, concluded. “Recognizing this immediate safety risk and intending to impede Gates from causing more harm or escaping, the officers had no other means by which they could neutralize the threat than to discharge their weapons.”
At 2:01 a.m. that morning, Gates entered the 7-Eleven store at 2105 Scott Blvd. with a mask covering his face and his sweatshirt hood over his head. He pointed a handgun at the clerk, and yelled “Give me the money or I’ll shoot you!” The clerk handed over a $20 bill, but Gates wanted more. He demanded, “Give me more! Give me all of it!” Then he fired his weapon.
At the same time, Officer Josh Craig and Officer Randy Van Diemen had just pulled up and saw the robbery and shot fired. The officers left their cars and engaged the fleeing robber, who came out of the store with a bag of money in one hand and his other hand in his sweatshirt pocket. When Gates refused to stop and ran toward possibly occupied cars in the parking lot, both officers fired their weapons. 
An autopsy found that Gates had been shot three times and had cocaine in his system.
Gates’ girlfriend, who was in a car parked nearby when the confrontation occurred, told investigating officers that had the officers not shot Gates, he would have shot them.
She said: “He would kill anyone that tried to put his life in danger . . . he hates the police.”     # # #

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