For release on September 27, 2023
Deputy District Attorney
Public and Law Enforcement Integrity Unit
Woman Who Fired Shotgun at Law Enforcement During Carjacking Incident
A woman who fired a shotgun at Santa Clara County Sheriff deputies as she fled from them in a high-speed car chase pleaded guilty today to the attempted murder of police and the carjacking and hostage taking of a UPS truck driver.
On Valentine’s Day 2019, Joanna Macy-Rodgers, 27, and Mark Morasky fled law enforcement through San Jose city streets and highways, and later carjacked a UPS truck and took the driver hostage. An armed Morasky was shot and killed by police as he was running from the truck toward an area where members of the press and the public were gathered. Macy-Rodgers surrendered.
Macy-Rodgers pleaded to one count of attempted murder of a peace officer, a gun allegation, a carjacking charge, and a hostage false imprisonment charge. She faces a potential life sentence.
“The Sheriff’s and San Jose Police Department stopped a violent couple from further mayhem,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “My Office has taken a reckless and dangerous person off the streets for a long time. None of this county’s public safety agencies will allow criminals to turn our safe streets into the wild west.”
On Feb. 14, 2019, around 5:00 p.m., two sheriff’s deputies in a vehicle saw an SUV illegally park at the Ohlone-Chynoweth Light Rail Station. When they drove up, the vehicle – driven by Morasky – sped away. During the chase, Macy-Rodgers of San Jose, fired a shotgun at the deputies multiple times, striking one of their vehicles with buckshot and also lodging buckshot in an innocent bystanders car.
Speeding the wrong way down Highway 87 during rush hour, the suspect vehicle made its way to Communications Hill in San Jose, where Morasky and Macy-Rodgers exited. There they carjacked a UPS driver and – threatening him with the shotgun – forced him to drive them away.
When the vehicle stopped at North First Street near Trimble Road, Macy-Rodgers surrendered. Morasky refused. Thirty-eight minutes later, the UPS driver convinced Morasky to let him go. Just before 7:00 p.m., Morasky tried to escape in the truck. In a coordinated effort, Sheriff deputies and San Jose police officers blocked the UPS truck with armored vehicles. After pointing his weapon at the officers, the suspect ran from the truck, carrying the loaded shotgun, toward an area where the press was gathered behind police barricades. Officer Nicholas Bronte – a former U.S. Marine who had been an officer since 2006 – shot Morasky once with a service rifle, fatally.
The DA’s Office later determined that the San Jose police officer had lawfully used legal force.