SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – The shooting of a murder suspect by the San Jose Police Departement in January 2021 was ruled “lawful” by the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office. However, the victim’s lawyers and family disagree with the decision.
David Tovar Jr. was unarmed, but police say they had reason to believe he was armed when they shot and killed him while Tovar was trying to evade arrest. Police body camera footage shows officers chasing Tovar through an apartment complex on the east side of San Jose.
Tovar was shot six times by San Jose police officers and died. The attorney representing Tovar’s family says he should not have been killed.
“They shot him while he was running away from them,” said Patrick Buelna, the family’s attorney.
Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Robert Baker disagrees. He said in the district attorney’s report that Tovar had a documented criminal history of putting innocent people at risk and that officers believed Tovar was armed and could have been a threat.
Also in the DA’s report, one expert said the police department’s tactics were flawed — officers fired rounds hitting occupied apartments. Even so, the DA said based on the evidence they cannot disprove officers used lawful self defense.
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“They are lucky they didn’t kill anyone else,” Buelna said. “Unfortunately they did shoot and kill my client”
Buelna says although there will not be criminal charges, they will still pursue their civil rights lawsuit against the officers and the police department.