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SAN JOSE POLICE SERGEANT LAWFULLY KILLED DRUGGED, DANGEROUS DRIVER

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For release on February 6, 2013

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Ray Mendoza
Chief Trial Deputy
(408) 792-2614

SAN JOSE POLICE SERGEANT LAWFULLY KILLED DRUGGED, DANGEROUS DRIVER

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has determined that a San Jose police sergeant lawfully shot and killed a meth-intoxicated man in 2011 who tried to smash a stolen car out of a dragnet and looked to be reaching for a gun.

Varun Kumar, 32, was killed only after officers tried boxing his car in with their own vehicles in a crowded apartment complex, used two Tasers, and struck him on the head with a gun. All the while, a seemingly impervious Kumar ignored repeated police commands to surrender. Kumar drove his car at high speeds,smashing into police cars and a parking lot support beam, narrowly missing officers. Fearing for his life and for others, Sgt. Sergio Carabarin, who had been told by a dispatcher that the suspect may be armed, fatally shot Kumar.No weapon was found.

“Varun Kumar posed a lethal danger to anyone in his path,” states a 25-page District Attorney’s Office report released today. “Sgt. Carabarin’s use of force may have saved the lives of his fellow officers and civilians.”

The lethal incident began just before noon on Oct. 16, 2011 when an anonymous caller said that the driver of a Ford Taurus was brandishing a gun at two other men in the parking lot of the Parkside Terrace Apartments in San Jose. Dispatchers reported this to responding police, including that the suspect’s car was reported stolen and had been involved in a recent robbery.

Concerned the armed suspect would try to flee, officers tried to block escape routes with their cars. However,the moment officers tried to arrest Kumar he revved his engine and rammed his vehicle into the patrol cars. As the car careened at high speed back and forth, Sgt. Carabarin saw the suspect reach for a center console.Believing the suspect was reaching for the reported weapon, the officer fired his own weapon, fatally.

Witness and police reports agree that Kumar was highly dangerous and determined not to be caught.Investigators later found that a woman who felt her life was being threatened by Kumar falsely reported to the 911 dispatcher that she had seen a gun. The caller later told investigators she had seen him with a gun earlier, and assumed he still had it.

An autopsy showed Kumar was extremely high on methamphetamines. Kumar had a long criminal record:domestic violence, car theft, burglary, reckless driving, drugs possession and for evading police. In the summer of 2010, Kumar was tasered and arrested by police after an almost 10-mile high speed chase during which he blew through stop signs and red lights.

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