SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — San Jose police released more details about a man who allegedly armed himself with machetes, broke into a family’s home, and held three victims hostage during a deadly standoff last week. Police fatally shot the man.
San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata held a news conference Monday to talk about what led up to the home invasion, standoff, and police shooting.
The dramatic chain of events began at 8:30 p.m. on March 22 when Eliobert Gonzalez-Rocha broke into an apartment on Boynton Avenue and threatened to kill the family inside, according to Mata.
Mata described the incident as a “terrifying home invasion, involving an armed intruder that took a mother and her two children hostage … creating a very volatile and high risk situation.”
“The suspect was not known to the family, but he had recently been evicted from his apartment in that same complex. The man repeatedly threatened to kill them if they did not provide his keys. The suspect told the father to get out of the apartment or he would kill their family,” Mata said.
The husband followed the evicted tenant’s demands to leave. He called 911. The wife, her 7-year-old son, and 18-year-old son were held inside as hostages.
Gonzalez-Rocha was armed with two machetes, a replica handgun, and a metal pole, Mata said.
Officers arrived at the scene and saw the victims, as well as Gonzalez-Rocha, through a bedroom window. Mata said officers rapidly realized they had “very little room for error.”
The mother was able to place her youngest son inside a closet to protect him. “The suspect stood over the family and directed the mother to tie the hands of the eldest son with an electrical cord. The suspect then ordered the mother and eldest son to kneel and face away from him,” Mata said.
Officers surrounded the apartment and a police standoff ensued for nearly an hour.
Police made commands in English and Spanish ordering the man to surrender peacefully. Believing that the mother and children’s lives were in grave danger, SWAT team officers broke through glass and one officer opened fire.
The SJPD’s SWAT team is named Mobile Emergency Response Group and Equipment, or MERGE.
“The MERGE officer observed the suspect raised the machete towards the family and (the officer) fired at least one round, striking the suspect,” Mata said.
The mother and children were safely rescued from the home. Gonzalez-Rocha died in a hospital shortly after.
Gonzalez-Rocha has no criminal history in Santa Clara County. The SJPD will release officers’ body worn camera video in coming weeks.
The shooting was SJPD’s second shooting involving officers in 2023.
In February, a felon with a lengthy rap sheet went on a chilling “quest to kill” San Jose police officers, Mata said. Noe Orlando Mendoza, 38, of San Jose, allegedly stalked officers around their own police station and followed marked patrol cars before he opened fire during a traffic stop. Mendoza shot an officer, surrendered, and was taken into custody. The officer survived.