For release on October 23, 2018
David Boyd, Deputy District Attorney
DA REPORT: SJPD OFFICERS LAWFULLY SHOT AND KILLED MAN ARMED WITH HATCHET
Two veteran San Jose police officers lawfully shot and killed a hatchet-wielding man during his one-man invasion of a San Jose power plant early this year, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has determined.
Thompson Nguyen, a San Jose man who suffered from mental illness, drove to the Metcalf Energy Center that day armed with two hatchets, three pipes, seven knives, nun chucks, a GoPro camera, and a sword. During the confrontation the 27-year-old repeatedly asked officers to shoot him. The officers only fired after their de-escalation efforts failed and Nguyen advanced on them with a hatchet and a metal staff.
Prosecutor David Boyd, who authored the 44-page report wrote: “Any reasonable officer would conclude that Nguyen, whether as a result of a mental health issue or not, had decided that he was going to die that day and that if he had to attack an officer with a weapon to make it happen, he was going to do so.”
The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal. By law, officers can use potentially deadly force when they or others are faced with imminent danger. Along with the report, the Office has released video footage ( video one and video two) 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 these videos because it was relevant to our decision.”
Around 5 p.m. on January 9, 2018, Nguyen drove to the plant on Blanchard Road, climbed over a fence and began to stalk the campus, carrying one of the hatchets in one hand and a metal staff in the other. Police arrived soon afterward and tried to get him to disarm. Nguyen told responding officers, “Shoot me!” and “Kill me!” numerous times. One officer replied, “We don’t want to shoot.”
Ignoring orders to surrender, Nguyen advanced on the officers with his weapons - coming well within striking range. Officer Adam Hutson fired four shots. Seemingly unfazed, Nguyen continued past Officer Hutson still armed. Officer Timothy Faye fired four more shots. Nguyen fell, mortally wounded. Nguyen was pronounced dead at the scene by San Jose Fire Paramedics at 5:37 p.m.
After the shooting, officers found a fake police badge and journals in Nguyen’s car in which he wrote that Metcalf employees had put microchips in his brain.