For release on November 2, 2017
Carolyn Powell, Deputy District Attorney
DA REPORT: SCPD OFFICER LAWFULLY KILLED CHARGING MENTALLY ILL, SUICIDAL MAN
A Santa Clara police officer earlier this year lawfully shot and killed a mentally ill, suicidal man who charged at him during a standoff, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has determined.
Jesus Geney-Montes, 24, before being shot had stabbed himself with a knife multiple times in the chest and told police that he had a gun and would shoot them. Unbeknownst to the police, he was unarmed when he was killed.
Veteran Police Officer Colin Stewart – who had been trained for encounters with the mentally ill - used his Taser first as Geney-Montes rushed toward him, but it was not effective.
“Seeing Geney-Montes charging towards him and believing his life was in danger, Officer Stewart chose to defend himself by discharging his weapon,” prosecutor Carolyn Powell wrote in a 53-page public report. “Under the facts, circumstances and applicable law in this matter, Officer Colin Stewart’s use of force was in response to an objectively reasonable belief that he was facing an immediate threat of great bodily injury or death.”
The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal. By law, officers can use deadly force when they or others are faced with imminent danger. The Office has released the officer’s body-camera footage of the incident along with this disclaimer: “This video is graphic and viewer discretion is advised. The District Attorney’s Office tries to balance the values of privacy and transparency. Finding the right balance is important to maintain and build public trust in the criminal justice system. We are releasing this video because it was relevant to our decision.”
Santa Clara Police – including Officer Stewart - had already been to the Deborah Drive home where Geney-Montes lived with his mother and stepfather four times on March 9, 2017. During those visits, he barricaded himself in his bedroom, threatened his stepfather and himself, and told officers he had a gun and would shoot them if they came in. Each time officers determined no crime had been committed and that it was safer to back off. On the fifth call, around 5 p.m., his mother reported that Geney Montes had stabbed himself and fled from his bedroom window.
Police found him standing on an embankment behind a housing complex. He was badly wounded and saying he would either shoot the police or himself. Despite numerous police attempts to get him to let them help him, Geney-Montes – who had his hand in his short’s pocket for much of the standoff - ran. Officer Stewart leaped over a wall and was confronted by Geney-Montes before the shooting. Police later found the bloody knife in the bushes near where Geney-Montes had climbed over a fence.
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