SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — South Bay civil rights advocates are speaking out on Sunday after San Jose police released video of officers shooting and killing an unarmed murder suspect.
27-year-old David Tovar was wanted in connection with a series of crimes across Santa Clara County when officers tracked him down to an apartment complex in San Jose in January.
The video is dramatic as it shows officers firing several rounds at Tovar within seconds of seeing him.
One of the officers said they believed Tovar had a gun, but after the shooting none was found.
Civil rights advocates say Tovar did not have to die.
In the video, officers are seen attempting to arrest a man wanted in connection with several violent crimes.
Officers are then heard firing several gunshots as Tovar is seen running along a second story balcony of an apartment building.
It’s this video that criminal justice advocates say show an unjustified killing.
“The video is really infuriating and upsetting. It is as if these police officers were in a video game hunting Mr. Tovar.”
Sajid Khan is a deputy public defender in San Jose.
He’s joined other advocates in calling the shooting brutal and excessive.
Tovar was being investigated by police in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Jose and the CHP after he was linked to a number of robberies and two shootings including a murder.
Police say they were on high alert in pursuing the 27-year-old because of his violent criminal history.
The shooting happened on the morning of Jan. 21 when tovar was tracked to an apartment complex on La Pala Drive.
Police say he was reaching for his waistband when they opened fire.
But tovar was not found with a gun.
Khan says these types of killings by police are showing dramatic changes need to be made within departments.
The shooting will be under review internally and the Santa Clara County DA is expected to investigate as well. Because Tovar was unarmed, the state attorney general’s office may also get involved.