UPDATED: Four San Jose police officers were been placed on administrative leave Sunday following the seventh officer-involved shooting in the city so far this year.
The shooting was the result of a Halloween partier carrying a replica handgun.
Just before 8 a.m. Sunday, officers responded to the Stay Deluxe Hotel at 55 E. Brokaw Road on a report of a suspicious man armed with a handgun. Police say several people inside the hotel reported that the suspect was hiding in a stairwell and a handgun was visible in the waistband of his pants.
Police spokesman Sgt. Jason Dwyer says authorities located the suspect lying down in the stairwell and were able to see the butt of a handgun protruding from his pants. After several attempts to speak with the unidentified man from a distance, he “came to” and appeared to reach for his gun.
The four officers, believing he was going to shoot, fired at 25-year-oldJavier Gonzales-Guererro, striking him multiple times, Dwyer explained.
Authorities then began their approach, using a ballistic shield as protection. The suspect was then taken into custody and transported to an area hospital, where he remained under treatment as of Sunday night.
Preliminary investigation revealed the suspect had reportedly returned to the hotel after a Halloween party. He had been dressed in medical scrubs and was in possession of a replica handgun, Dwyer explained. It is believed the man was under the influence at the time of the shooting.
Officers learned the handgun was a toy when one of them broke it after stepping on it. The replica (pictured) was put back together as evidence.
The officers involved have been identified as Sgt. Brian Johnst, 41, Officer Mark Stephens, 44, Officer Gary Petrakovitz, 40, and Officer Tim Stephens, 47. The officers have a combined total of 69 years of experience on the force.
The officers have been placed on routine paid administrative lead while SJPD’s homicide unit investigates the shooting. Additionally, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office will also review the case to determine if the suspect will face charges of brandishing a replica firearm at police. As of Monday night, Gonzales-Guererro was still recuperating in the hospital.
Dwyer said this is the seventh officer-involved shooting of 2011. Three of those shootings resulted in deaths.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Det. Liz Check or Det. Steve Bustillos of the SJPD homicide unit. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP (7867) and may be eligible for a reward.
NOTE: Recordings of the 911 calls made to police are available on the San Jose Police Department’s website.