San Jose police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that left a 24-year-old woman dead early Christmas morning.
According to the San Jose Police Department, around 2:09 a.m. officers responded to a report of shots fired in the area of Story Rd. and Clemence Ave.
The shooter was reported to be driving a white car leaving the area.
The first arriving officer was flagged down by a witness who pointed in the direction of the suspect vehicle, saying “that way” “they shot,” police say.
The officer saw the white car traveling westbound on Owsley Avenue from Clemence Ave and alerted other responding officers.
A second officer arrived northbound on Lucretia Ave. and saw a white Toyota Camry turn from westbound Owsley Ave. to northbound Lucretia Ave.
The second officer broadcast the license plate of the Toyota and learned it was a reported stolen vehicle.
Investigators say there were two suspects inside the Toyota.
The first responding officer then advised there were shotgun shell casings at the scene and two victims suffering from gunshot wounds.
A supervisor advised over the radio that the shooting was possibly related to an earlier shooting in another part of the city in which similar shotgun shells were found at the scene, authorities say.
Officers followed the stolen Toyota with the shooting suspects and tried to initiate a traffic stop.
Authorities say, the car fled at a high rate speed and a pursuit ensued. It lasted about seven minutes and ended at Leigh Ave. and Fruitdale Ave. when the driver of the Toyota lost control of the vehicle and collided with a fence.
Police say the driver refused to obey officers’ commands to surrender and started to maneuver the Toyota back and forth in an attempt to dislodge it from the fence.
“The suspected shooting suspect eventually positioned the Toyota so that it pointed directly at one of the officer’s patrol car,” according to a statement from the SJPD. “Several officers were in close proximity of the presumably still armed suspects.”
The suspect driver then rammed the patrol car with the Toyota using it as a deadly weapon, causing fours officer to fire their weapons in an attempt to stop the driver, police say.
The driver was fatally struck by the gunfire. The passenger in the car was hit once and transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
No officers were injured in the incident.
The driver of the Toyota was identified as 24-year-old Jennifer Vasquez of San Jose. The passenger was identified as 28-year-old Linda Bueno of San Jose.
In a statement from the SJPD:
“Officers must respond and react only with the information they have at the time. The fleeing stolen vehicle did appear at the time to be the suspects in a triple shooting in multiple areas of the city. Demonstrating a complete disregard for life, and using the car to plow into an officer’s vehicle while officers were standing in the immediate area from what they believed were armed attempted homicide suspects was the reason they fired. After further investigation we do not believe it was the same vehicle involved in the shooting and no weapon was located inside the Toyota. However, knowing that it matched the description at the approximate time of the shooting, was a stolen vehicle and the individual was so desperate to get away, all further led the officers to believe it had been involved in the shooting.”
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