For release on March 11, 2019
Assistant District Attorney
DA REPORT: SAN JOSE POLICE OFFICER LAWFULLY SHOT, KILLED FUGITIVE GANG MEMBER WHO MADE FURTIVE MOVE
A San Jose police officer lawfully shot and killed a fugitive gang member who refused to surrender during a 2017 car stop and made a sudden movement as if to retrieve a weapon, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has determined.
Although no gun was found, investigators later found a knife and a bag of methamphetamine near where Jacob Dominguez, 33, was sitting in a car.
Prosecutor Rob Baker’s 19-page public report concludes: “Based on the evidence reviewed in this case, Officer (Michael) Pina actually and reasonably believed that he needed to use deadly force to protect himself and others when Dominguez, a known violent gang member, ignored explicit and repeated commands at gunpoint to keep his hands up, and decided to drop his hands out of view.”
The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal. By law, officers can use deadly force when they or others are faced with imminent danger of death or great bodily injury.
Five days before the shooting, police determined that Dominguez and others robbed a gas station at gunpoint.
The September 15th fatality began as police tried to apprehend Dominguez – known as an armed and dangerous gang member – throughout the day. Officers finally surrounded Dominguez’s car with patrol vehicles at North White and Penitencia Creek roads, boxing him in. Officer Pina, a 12-year veteran of the force, told Dominguez – who was in the front seat - to put his hands up or he would shoot him, to which Dominguez replied, “(Expletive deleted), shoot me (expletive deleted).” Officer Pina then said, “Don’t give me a reason to shoot you! Put your hands up!”
Despite being told to keep his hands up for 15 seconds, Dominguez leaned forward and lowered his hands – as if reaching or something. For three more seconds, officers yelled for the suspect to show his hands. Officer Pina fired twice, striking Dominguez once, fatally. The incident was captured on body-worn camera footage.
An autopsy showed that Dominguez was high on both methamphetamines and PCP.
The day after the shooting an inmate at Elmwood Correctional Facility called an unknown male in a recorded jail call to talk about Dominguez’s death. The unknown male said, “He told me he wasn’t going back to jail.”
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