For release on October 17, 2019
Supervising Deputy District Attorney
DA Report: San Jose Police Officer Lawfully Shot and Killed Shotgun-Wielding Carjacker
A San Jose police officer lawfully shot and killed a shotgun-wielding man after he carjacked and kidnapped a UPS driver in his truck, the Santa Clara County DA’s Office has determined.
After leading police on a 14-minute chase, during which he held the driver at gunpoint, an armed Mark Morasky was shot as he was running from the truck toward the police perimeter and an occupied office building. Before he made a break for it, Morasky, a 33-year-old Saratoga two-striker on parole for violent crimes, told officers and the driver that he would die rather than go back to prison.
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Miguel Valdovinos wrote in the 37-page public report: “Morasky’s choice to avoid apprehension at all cost made him an imminent and formidable threat. Concerned for his safety, the safety of other officers, and the safety of civilians in the area, Officer (Nicholas) Bronte had no other reasonable option but to discharge his weapon.”
The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal. By law, officers may use deadly force when they or others are faced with imminent danger or are trying to prevent a dangerous felon from escaping and hurting members of the community.
On February 14, 2019, around 5 p.m., two sheriff’s deputies in a vehicle saw a SUV illegally park at the Ohlone-Chynoweth Light Rail Station. When they drove up, the vehicle – driven by Morasky - sped away. During the chase, a passenger – later identified as 23-year-old Joanna Macy-Rodgers of San Jose – fired a shotgun at the deputies multiple times, striking their vehicle with buckshot.
Speeding the wrong way down Highway 87 during rush hour, the suspect vehicle made its way to Communications Hill in San Jose, where the two suspects exited. There they carjacked a UPS driver and – threatening him with the shotgun - forced him to drive them away.
When the vehicle stopped at North First Street near Trimble Road, Macy-Rodgers surrendered. Morasky refused. Thirty-eight minutes later, the UPS driver convinced Morasky to let him go. Just before 7 p.m., Morasky tried to escape in the truck but was blocked in by officers in armored vehicles. After pointing his weapon at the officers, the suspect ran from the truck, carrying the loaded shotgun, toward officers and an occupied office building. Officer Bronte – former U.S. Marine who had been an officer since 2006 - shot him once with a service rifle, fatally.
The incident was caught on body-worn camera footage and video by the pursuing police helicopter, relevant portions of which were released by the DA’s Office.
Macy-Rodgers faces felony charges including carjacking, kidnapping, taking a hostage and the attempted murder of a peace officer. Her next court hearing is scheduled for November 18, 2019, in the Hall of Justice in San Jose.