SJPD officer cleared by DA’s office in fatal shooting of knife-wielding man
SANTA CLARA COUNTY — The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has released footage of a San Jose Police Officer shooting a suicidal suspect who had been reportedly arguing with his father and was threatening to kill himself.
The shooting occurred on May 2, 2017, near the Mt. Frazier Drive home following a report that a father and son were fighting. When responding to the scene, 14-year veteran SJPD officer Mario Martinez arrived on scene and searched for a suspect matching the description given by dispatch. Just as Martinez focused a spot light on the residence, the suspect, 28-year-old Joseph Tourino, ran towards the officer with a knife raised in his hand. A pitbull also began to charge at the officer as the officer retreated to the rear of his vehicle.
Given less than a few seconds to react, Officer Martinez was forced to un-holster his firearm and fire three shots that severely injured the suspect. According to Supervising Deputy District Attorney Steven Dal Porto, after the shooting, some of Joseph Tourino’s last words were captured by the audio on the officer’s body cam: “It’s not your fault, officers. I wanted this… I hate myself.”
Arriving detectives determined that the suspect had two knives on his person, one placed in his belt and the other raised in order to strike the arriving officer. “Tourino’s father, friends and others told investigators that he was mentally ill, had attempted suicide at least once, and had told several people that he may commit suicide by having police officers shoot him,” Porto said. “The decedent’s declaration disturbingly underscores the decedent’s intention to bring about his own death through the very means by which it occurred.”
The DA’s office determined that the use of lethal force was legal. The determination is made when an officer faces an imminent threat that would kill or severely injure the officer. It was also determined that the suspect intended to kill the officer before the officer fired three shots imminently killing Tourino.