Calif. LEO cleared in fatal shooting of mentally ill man, video released
Police told Jesus Alberto Geney-Montes, who said he had a gun, to show his hands, but he kept them in his pants pockets
By Jenna Lyons
San Francisco Chronicle
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A Santa Clara police officer lawfully shot and killed an unarmed 24-year-old mentally ill and suicidal man in March, suspecting the man had a handgun and would use it, the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office said Thursday.
The shooting occurred March 9 after Jesus Alberto Geney-Montes’ parents called 911 four times during the day to report that their son was behaving erratically, was armed and threatening his stepfather.
Each time, officers arrived at the home and left after determining there was no cause to make an arrest, although at one point, police said, he threatened to shoot the officers if they came into his bedroom. The officers were leaving the fourth time, when Geney-Montes’ mother stopped them to say her son had stabbed himself.
They returned and confronted Geney-Montes, who by then was in the yard and told the officers once again he had a gun. Police said he kept his hand in his pants pocket, despite orders to show his hands.
“Show me your hands. Get down. You’re not going to die today. You’re not going to die,” an officer was heard saying on body-camera video.
After a period of negotiation, Geney-Montes threatened to shoot himself in the head and began counting down, according to police accounts. At that point, a video taken by Officer Colin Stewart’s body camera shows the officer jumping a wall behind the house and running toward Geney-Montes.
Police say Geney-Montes charged at Stewart, although the video does not make that apparent.
“Seeing Geney-Montes charging towards him and believing his life was in danger, Officer Stewart chose to defend himself by discharging his weapon,” Prosecutor Carolyn Powell wrote in a 53-page report released Thursday. “Under the facts, circumstances and applicable law in this matter, Officer Colin Stewart’s use of force was in response to an objectively reasonable belief that he was facing an immediate threat of great bodily injury or death.”
During the investigation, Stewart was put on administrative leave, but returned to work about two to three months ago, said Lt. Dan Moreno, a Santa Clara Police Department spokesman.
“We agree with the D.A.’s findings,” he said, declining to comment further.
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