SANTA CLARA — The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has announced their decision concerning an officer involved shooting that caused the death of a man who had violated a restraining order placed against him by his wife.
“The incident began around 6 p.m., on March 7, 2016 when Rosas, disregarding a domestic violence restraining order, barged into his estranged wife’s Martha Street home and attacked her friend, 38-year-old Richard Shane Fernandez,” Walsh said. “When Fernandez fled the house, Rojas followed and stabbed him with a knife.” He died 11 days later. Mrs. Rosas was stabbed several times as she was trying to keep Mr. Rosas from stabbing her and her friend.
When officers arrived at the scene, they located the suspect outside the home of the attack, covered in his victim’s blood.
During the attack Mrs. Rosas and Mr. Fernandez were able to wrestle a small knife away from the suspect, but as they wrestled the small knife away, the suspect pulled out a larger knife. This is when Officer Don Guess shouted at the suspect in an effort to get him to stop his attack. Officer Guess shouted “Police!” and Mr. Rosas turned toward him with the knife in hand. At first Rosas began to walk toward Guess, but then he began walking away down South Third and Martha Street, ignoring the officer’s commands. It was a deadly decision.
According to Walsh, “The officer fired as the suspect neared bystanders, including a young woman who was walking unknowingly toward him.” Officer Guess fired multiple rounds at the suspect, mortally wounding him.
According to Prosecutor Christopher Walsh “When Officer Guess fired his weapon, it is clear he did so with the honest intent to protect himself and others in the area from being further injured by Byron Rosas, who was acting irrational, unpredictable, defiant and had just demonstrated an ability to kill.”
The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal. By law, officers may use lethal force against a felon who poses a “significant threat of death or serious physical injury.”