For release on February 14, 2014
Supervising Deputy District Attorney
DA REPORT: OFFICERS USED LAWFUL FORCE IN FATAL FELON SHOOTING
After a comprehensive review, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has concluded that two veteran San Jose police officers lawfully shot and killed a felon last year who had led police on a 26-mile, high-speed car chase and then, bailing from the car, seemed to be reaching for a weapon.
Ronald Aduddell, a three-strike felon who had assaulted a police officer with his car and reportedly had a weapon, was not armed when he was fatally shot.
In a 53-page report detailing the incident and decisions, Supervising Deputy District Attorney Brian Welch determined that the officers believed that the immediate use of deadly force was necessary to defend themselves and others against the 28-year-old who had a history of running from police.
Welch wrote: “Officers (Ian) Cooley and (Adam) Jenkins found themselves in an uncertain, tense and rapidly evolving situation with a suspect in close proximity, whose actions indicated an intent to attack, which required the officers to make split-second judgments about the use of force necessary.”
During the afternoon of March 2, 2013, a San Jose officer saw Aduddell driving a Ford Contour slowly on a residential street. Believing he was casing the area for a possible burglary, the officer tried to pull over the driver – who sped away. He later cornered the car in a dead end, but the driver aimed his car at the patrol vehicle, crashed into it, and escaped. During the pursuit, officers saw Aduddell throwing items from the car window and – at one point – holding a handgun.
Officer Cooley saw the gun during the chaotic chase. When the suspect’s car was finally forced to stop, Aduddell exited the vehicle and advanced on officers. Cooley drew his weapon and fired when it seemed as though the suspect was reaching for a weapon.
Officer Jenkins did not see a gun, but heard a radio broadcast saying “make sure everyone realizes that this guy has a gun!” When he, too, saw the advancing suspect reach for his waistband, he fired his weapon. Both officers fired a total of 15 times.
An autopsy showed that Aduddell had been shot eight times and was intoxicated on methamphetamine when he died. A package of methamphetamine was found on his body.
The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal. By law, officers are allowed to use deadly force where there is a reasonable need to protect themselves or others from an apparent and imminent threat of death or great bodily injury.